A Red Deer College graduate was recently honoured with a trip to Toronto and a scholarship for her outstanding talent as a musician.
Rachel Peacock is a flautist and harpist originally from Rimbey. She recently completed a diploma of music at RDC and participated in the Chamber Choir, flute ensemble and Symphonic Winds. She was nominated by staff to receive the national honour of a Fred Sherratt Award.
“It was a real honour to be nominated and I was pretty thrilled about receiving the award,” Peacock said.
The awards are presented through MusiCounts, a music education charity. They offer a number of scholarships in a variety of categories to promote music education throughout the country.
The Fred Sherratt Award consists of a $2,500 scholarship and a trip to Toronto for an awards ceremony as well as tours of the Bell Media headquarters and the Universal Music Canada facility.
“The trip was really amazing. They had it very well organized. They flew all the recipients out and put us up for two nights in Toronto. We had a couple tours, but I think the highlight for me was being able to talk with a couple of professional women from the music industry,” Peacock said.
“I was able to visit with them and it was great to be able to talk to them about their experiences in a primarily male work environment. Out of the 12 recipients, I was the only woman who was there so I felt a bit of a kinship to these other woman.
“Meeting the other recipients was also really great. They were all very talented, focused people and it was interesting to hear what they were about.”
Peacock will transfer to York University in Toronto this fall to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in music. The scholarship she received through the award will help to fund her educational fees. She is engaged in a variety of instruments but said her love of the flute has taken much of her focus in recent years.
“I’ve been focusing on the flute for the past few years, particularly classical flute. One of the things that keeps me excited about it is being able to work on repertoire that is specific to that instrument. It’s so rich with history,” she said.
“Several of the pieces I play are up to 400 years old. I think it’s an amazing way to connect with music that’s been around for that long.”
She said it is an honour to be able to play pieces written by great musicians because it allows her to feel connected to their ideas and the music.
Currently, Peacock is continuing her involvement with the Rosebud Theatre Company. She has been involved with them for five seasons as a musician and actor, and was a graduate of the Rosedale School of Arts before attending RDC.
“Performing requires being engaged physically, mentally and creatively all at the same time. In some ways, it almost feels a bit like being an athlete in that I’m working towards perfection over and over and over. It’s not just about doing it well one time,” she said.
“Right now, I’m playing in the Wizard of Oz at Rosebud Theatre, and I think we’ve completed 62 shows out of about 90 that will happen over the summer. That’s a prime example of doing it well night after night.”
In addition to her duties with the Rosebud Theatre, Peacock also performs as a soloist throughout the province and as half of a harp-flute duo with her sister.
“When I work collaboratively, there is so much going on. You sort of have two minds going at the piece. Because my sister and I have played together for many years now, we’re pretty good at reading each other in the moment. We’re good at making really educated guesses at what the other person will do – how many repeats we’ll make or things that come from playing with a person a lot. That’s really part of the fun – crafting something together that has an element of spontaneity to it,” she said.
“I think that’s one thing I love about playing with other people – you’re building something together in a non-verbal way. It’s a really cool way to connect with music and with other people. It can be hard to establish, but once you have it established it’s pretty magical.”
Peacock said she would fill up her time this summer with writing some music for her Celtic harp and finishing up a collaborative Christmas album that is to be released this year. As well, she will continue to write and arrange music for a choir in Rosebud.
Peacock was one of 12 students to receive the scholarship. She was one of two recipients in the province, the other being Phillip Gosselin from Banff. MusiCounts created the scholarship in 2008 in honour of iconic Canadian broadcaster Fred Sherratt.