A young songstress was honoured in recent months when she was named the recipient of the Conservatory Canada Medal of Excellence for her grade four exam results, which were the highest in Alberta for her category.
Musical aptitude exams are held throughout the year, in a variety of cities and in each province across the country. Emily Nelson, who was 14 at the time of her recognition, was the single highest scoring performer in the grade four exams in a provincial level over the course of 2014.
“When I found out about the award, I was super excited. I had no idea and it’s not something that you expect. I just got a letter in the mail and assumed it was just a class certificate, but when I began reading it, it was just amazing,” said Nelson, now 15.
“It’s so cool that in all of Alberta, I was the one chosen to win this. It’s really cool to see how even at a young age things like this can happen. It’s definitely been motivating.”
Nelson was lucky enough to travel to Ontario with her mother and father to receive her award. She joined a number of youths from across the country in receiving their scholarships and awards for musical aptitude.
A performer since a young age, Nelson said that she is eager to continue to develop her musical talents so that one day she might become a music instructor. She has participated in the Red Deer Kiwanis Festival for the past two years, and has received two second-place awards and a first-place win for her talents.
“In Ontario, we had a ceremony where we all got brought up to receive medals and scholarships, and then we had a supper and performance time. You didn’t have to perform, but I had decided that I would. It was actually really cool to sing in front of these other musicians and to show them that I really had earned my award,” Nelson said.
She added that ever since learning of her honour, the entire process has seemed surreal.
The Conservatory Canada Medal of Excellence does not come easy to its recipients. There are exams taking place multiple times throughout the year, in a variety of cities in each province and to achieve the honour that Nelson did, she beat out all of the other candidates who had taken a grade four vocal examination in 2014.
Nelson’s voice and piano teacher, Teresa Allred, was extremely proud of her pupil.
“What’s unique about this is that in the whole province, Emily got the highest mark, so she received a medal and was asked to sing in Ontario and receive her medal there. It was out of dozens of candidates. Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Grande Prairie all run exams. There were at least, I’d guess, 65 singers, and Emily scored the highest mark. There are exams all the time – to get the highest mark in the province is quite the feather in anyone’s hat,” Allred said.
This honour has been a tremendous boost to Nelson’s confidence and she said that she is very humbled to have been given such a recognition.
“This has all been so surreal, and I kept thinking, ‘Why me?’ I am trying to understand it, and it’s finally set in that God gave me this gift and I will be using it to glorify him. I want to sing as a career or teach music. I want to be a mom of course, but I’d like to teach music later on in life. I always say to people that if I didn’t have music in my life, I’d probably go crazy,” Nelson said.
She will be performing at the upcoming Festival of Performing Arts at Red Deer College this month.