Local musician Ricardo Villacorta, a piano jazz major graduate of RDC, was a lucky recipient of The Fred Sherratt Award and flew to Toronto last month to accept his prize.
The award is given to outstanding young people who have excelled in a musical education and who demonstrate potential to carry their talents forward.
“It was incredible, it really was. To be picked out of hundreds and hundreds of other students across Canada, it’s quite the award. I felt really, really humbled and very grateful,” said Villacorta.
The experience was truly a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. The 12 award-winning musicians were gathered together in Toronto and were honoured with a ceremony, during which they all performed a cover of Canadian rapper K-os’s song Crabbuckit.
“I was able to perform with some of the top musicians of Canada. The first day we showed up, we got about an hour or two to pick a song and quickly rehearse it. It was awesome. Great singers from across Canada, great performers – all around great.”
Villacorta has applied to Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton to further his studies in jazz performance. He describes his experience at Red Deer College as a pleasant one and he is eager to develop his musical abilities.
“I came into RDC not really knowing what I was doing and somehow I got brought into the jazz side of it, and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “Nobody in my family plays instruments but everyone really has a passion for music. I was exposed to that when I was young and it really got into me. I wanted to learn how to do it so my parents got me a piano and that’s where I started. The first time I played I thought wow, this is incredible and it continued from there.”
The Fred Sherratt Award was established in 2008 to recognize the outstanding achievement, talent and leadership of post-secondary students in music programs across Canada. The goal of the award is to assist recipients in their transition between school and career.
The award started as a way to recognize the legendary works of Sherratt as an innovative, hard-working and influential member of the broadcasting community. He served as a crucial piece in the development of CHUM, otherwise known as TSN Radio 1050, which broadcasts out of Toronto.
Sherratt has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, from a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Association of Broadcasters to an induction into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
“I think the beginning of this was the best part for me. It was really awesome for my instructors at RDC to nominate me as one of the lead musicians in the school. That was probably the biggest, biggest thing for me – just knowing that your instructors think highly of you,” said Villacorta.
Villacorta shares the glory with 11 other musicians from across Canada, all of who have demonstrated exceptional musical ability and the initiative to pursue their talents.