2017 Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to our 2017 scholarship winners! Scholarships are teacher driven and are awarded to students in recognition of artistic excellence and achievement or for overcoming a challenge. We celebrated their achievements at our annual Awards Gala on Saturday, May 6 at 7:30pm.

Scholarship for Advanced Musical Studies

Andrew WangAndrew Wang (age 15)

Andrew started learning the piano at age eight after he was inspired by hearing his friend play. It sounded so good and so interesting that he decided to give it a try and take lessons with the Music for Young Children® program at Place des Arts. He remained in MYC for three years and then progressed onto private lessons with teacher Isaac Juarez-Flores. 

Andrew enjoys the music of the Romantic era and is especially inspired by the artistry of Yundi Li, specifically Li’s recordings of Chopin’s nocturnes. Andrew is also inspired by studying at Place des Arts, which has encouraged him to continue excelling in piano by providing opportunities to practice and perform within an environment surrounded by art, music and talented people.  

Coquitlam- Maillardville Heritage Trust Award (CMHT)

Emma ChongEmma Chong, piano (age 15)

Emma started playing piano in a group class at age four and took part in Mr. I’s Musical Rainbow program when she was five. At seven, she progressed to private lessons with her current teacher and role model Marjory Purdy. Emma says she is most fulfilled in her lessons when she knows the notes well enough to play without looking, freeing her up to add dynamics and shape to the music.

Emma plans on continuing piano until she has completed her RCM training and is looking forward to being a Junior Teacher at Place des Arts starting September 2017. Her favourite memories of Place des Arts include the Musical Rainbow Program and attending Summer Fun camps such as clay play, musical theatre and photography. She says these have all helped inspire and encourage her love for music.

Leonore Peyton Memorial Award

Nader KamaliNader Kamali, piano (age 15)

Sitting in on his brother’s piano lessons inspired Nader to learn to play himself. At the age of five, he started taking lessons at Place des Arts. What Nader enjoys most about playing the piano is the amount of focus it requires. He says, “When you start playing, everything else melts away except for the music.”

Nader says that studying at Place des Arts allows him to witness the determination and hard work all the students put into achieving their goals as well as the tenacity of their teachers who never give up on them. He says his piano teacher Marjory Purdy has been the greatest teacher he has ever had and that, “She always believes in me and helps me along the way. She taught me that persistence and hard work are your greatest assets in life, even above talent.”

Elliott Harty Piano Scholarship

Kara HanKara Han, piano (age 16)

Kara has been playing the piano since she was five years old, and began taking private lesson with Marjory Purdy at age eight. At first, it was her parents who insisted she take piano, but now, she is grateful for their efforts because she loves playing. Kara says, “What I like the most about piano is the contradicting structure and freedom that is possible. I am able to express myself through the keys through someone else’s composition, which I absolutely adore!”

Kara is very involved in other activities at Place des Arts. She is a member of the Youth Arts Council and is also a Junior Piano Teacher. Kara refers to Place des Arts as her second home because she and her family are here almost every day! Place des Arts has been and continues to be a crucial part of Kara’s life. She says, “Being a student at Place des Arts has shaped me into the person I am today.”

W.H. Sclater Award

Janelle FengJanelle Feng, visual arts (age 16)

Janelle started creating art when she was five years old, doodling on every surface possible and taking art classes after school. She loves that art allows her to create and tell a story and how the process of creating allows her to engage her emotions and enjoy her bizarre imagination. She also likes how relaxing making art is ― it is like reading a story or watching a movie through making art.

Janelle also works with digital media and spends a lot of her free time on Photoshop projects. She says, “The best thing about digital media is that I can also apply elements of art into them, which I find interesting and entertaining.”

Janelle plans to pursue a career in art as it has helped her overcome many obstacles, remain positive, act responsibly and stay focused, valuable treasures she has gained from her experiences in the arts.

Place des Arts Scholarships

Faith MillardFaith Millard, ballet (age 12)

Faith started dancing at the age four and focused on ballet at age five with teacher Lucienne Anczykowski. Her love and dedication for ballet shines through as Faith spends six hours a week at Place des Arts for lessons and two to three hours practicing at home. She loves how ballet is so beautiful and graceful, and recognizes how much discipline and focus it takes to make ballet movements look effortless.

One of Faith’s role models is Rowan Blanchard because she is a successful actress and activist due to her hard work and dedication, which is something a ballet student really needs to succeed. Her teacher Lucienne is also a role model because of her dedication to, and love for, ballet. Faith says that she felt honoured and delighted to win a scholarship this year and hopes to make her teacher proud. Faith says, “Lucienne helps push me beyond what I think I can do. She inspires me to dream big and always give 110% in everything I do.”

Anella SchablerAnella Annabelle Schabler, piano (age 14)

Having played the piano since she was five years old, Anella says it has taught her patience, perseverance and determination. She also loves how she can express herself through different moods, dynamics and eras of music and how each piece is unique and different, which prevents her from getting bored.

A dancer and a visual artist as well, one of Anella’s biggest inspirations is Emily Carr, whose art and writing have deeply influenced Anella’s desire to explore the arts.

Anella is excited to have received a scholarship and is more inspired than ever to keep playing with all her heart. She is grateful to her teacher Christina Krystecki for helping her achieve her goals, preparing her for exams and encouraging her love for jazz music.”

Nima ShafieeNima Shafiee, piano (age 15)

Nima started playing the piano at age eight because of his competitive nature. He wanted to show up and gain the respect of his brothers who both played. The brothers quit playing, but Nima persevered, even though it was a lot harder than he expected.

Now, Nima enjoys being able to play the wide variety of music written for the piano. He especially likes the opportunity to be creative and improvise, which allows him to freely express himself.

Nima has a collection of favourite memories of Place des Arts. He says “Whenever you visit, they always have beautiful works of art hanging on the walls . . . that inspire me to become a better musician.” Nima’s teacher Dina Kholina is his role model, as she is enthusiastic, encourages him to strive harder and provides guidance in his expression and interpretation of music.

Nikola GabrychNikola Gabrych, dance (age 16)

Realizing that she didn’t just want to dance for competitions at a young age, Nikola decided to take dance lessons at Place des Arts to gain knowledge and learn more about the art of dance. She says, “What I like most about dancing is the freedom you feel. When I dance, all my stress just goes away.”

Studying at Place des Arts has taught Nikola that dance is not a competition, as she has learned to dance for herself, not to impress others.

Nikola’s role models are all her dance teachers and her mom. She says, “They show me that you don’t have to be the best in everything; as long as you love what you’re doing and you’re happy, that should be enough.”

Felicia WangFelicia Wang, piano (age 12)

Felicia’s interests in the piano started with a Christmas gathering at her friend’s house. Watching her friend played the piano and then giving it a try herself, Felicia knew she wanted to learn how to play.

Felicia started by taking group lessons and eventually moved towards private lessons. She loves how learning the piano continuously challenge her to work hard at being the best she can be as a student and performer.

Felicia’s role models are her piano playing friends. She says, “My friends inspire me to keep going because they also know how hard it is, but they keep going.” She also credits Place des Arts piano teachers Christina Krystecki and Monica Pfau for helping her do well in exams and festivals, teaching her the details and continually encouraging her.