Congratulations to our 2020 scholarship winners!

Place des Arts awards annual scholarships to help students in their pursuit of excellence in the visual, literary and performing arts. This year, we awarded $3,100 to 9 deserving students in music, dance and the theatre arts in recognition of their artistic excellence and achievement. Find out more about them by clicking on their names and see their great performances.

Dayton Chan, Music

Ryan Coghill, Theatre Arts

Marcos Gerges, Theatre Arts

Krish Khatri, Music 

Kayla Price, Music

Natalie Quiring, Dance

Madeleine Quong-Lee, Music

Kairo Robinson, Theatre Arts

Cally Yeung, Music

Dayton Chan, Music

Teacher: Marjory Purdy | Elliott Harty Piano Scholarship

Age: 14

  1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form?

I entered the world of music at the age of 5 when I started taking basic piano lessons from my cousin. At the time, I would always listen to my sister and my cousins playing piano. I fell in love with the sound and I really wanted to learn how to play. My parents then decided to sign me up for piano when I was 6.

2. Who is your role model and why?

My role model is Wayne Gretzky, not only because he is a great hockey player, but because of his famous philosophy, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” In a musical sense, I like to remember this quote before I perform as it makes me less nervous and reassures me. It reminds me that when performing, I will definitely get more than 0% of my desired success. In the bigger picture, I like to take my shots and see where it takes me, which is what I did with applying for this scholarship. I doubted whether or not I should, but then I remembered Gretzky’s quote and thought to myself “if I don’t try, I 100% won’t get it”. I am so thankful and honoured that things worked out and that I am the recipient of the scholarship.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form?

My parents motivate me to continue to play piano with their constant words of support. My favourite thing they say to encourage me is “do your best”. Though it is quite cliché, it relaxes me as there is not a required standard for me, just that I try my hardest. Also, they remind me of the hardships they endured back in their hometown and how much they sacrificed to get me here. This inspires me to work harder to make them proud.

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals?

This is a very big step toward my goal to become a junior teacher because the scholarship allows my parents to extend my lesson times. This small extension is actually massive in the long run as it comes to over 600 extra minutes with Marjory Purdy, an excellent role model for teaching. Through her, I can learn teaching styles and techniques to teach younger children.

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals?

Marjory has helped me every step of the way during my time at Place Des Arts. Last year I received gold and silver at the North Fraser Festival, which I couldn’t have done without her. She continues to prepare me for my level 10 exam and she pushes me with tasks every week to keep me working hard. That is truly my main goal in music.

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts. 

My favourite memory of Place des Arts was around 6 years ago when I attended summer camp. I did Animation and I got the opportunity to make my own video clip using clay. I remember dropping my clay figure on the ground and crying because of it. When I think back to it, I find it very funny how the little things made me so mad.

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you? 

Place des Arts has inspired me by having frequent recitals so I can perform regularly and become a better musician. These performances remind me of where I am with my piece and lets me know how much harder I need to work to achieve my goal. Moreover, when something does not go well during the recital, I know exactly what needs to be done to fix it and this is exactly the type of inspiration that keeps me practicing.

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts. 

When I go to Place des Arts, it feels like a very safe place dedicated to music. It is relatively quiet with the faint sound of piano. Also, there is some wonderful art scattered around the entire building and it calms me down for my piano lesson, especially if I had a basketball or hockey game beforehand. Simply walking in is all the preparation I need to focus on music for the next hour.

Ryan Coghill, Theatre Arts

Teacher: Seamus Fera | Place des Arts Scholarship

Age: 15

1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form?   

 I joined Place des Arts in 2016 after doing a few community theatre activities and summer camps. 

2. Who is your role model and why? 

I have never had a role model instead I look to my peers and aspire to improve myself with qualities I respect in them.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form? 

I am motivated by the growth theatre provides. I find that it builds many skills in me that can be used everywhere and overall I just really enjoy being a part of it.

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals? 

This scholarship will allow me to continue doing theatre at PdA while allowing me to save for future goals as well as building confidence in myself that I can do great things.

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals? 

My teachers have taught me techniques and provided constructive criticism. This has aided my goals because it allows me to increase the quality of my performance. 

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts.  

I don’t have a specific best part of Place des Arts because I love almost all the time I spend there. 

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you?  

Being part of Coquitlam Youth Theatre has inspired me to go on to act in school productions. It also has made me a more social person and inspires me to connect to the world.  

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts.  

I always enjoy myself and have fun, feeling safe and secure, whenever I visit Place des Arts for any occasion. 

Marcos Gerges, Theatre Arts

Teacher: Seamus Fera  | Place des Arts Scholarship

Age: 13

1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form?

It all started in fifth grade when my school had a musical. When audition time came around, I decided to audition, just for the sake of it. it turns out I was chosen for callbacks and made the lead role in the musical.

2. Who is your role model and why?

My role model is my father because he helps me remember to never give up, never lose sight of my goal and to be true to myself.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form?

My motivation is myself. Whenever I feel down, I just get right back up and try again. The reason is— if I stop, who’s going to start me up again?

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals?

It will help me achieve my goals by giving courage because I am good enough and that I can be strong enough to keep on pushing for my goals.

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals?

My teacher helps me by giving me the comments that I need to hear and the praise that I can’t give up on myself. He pushes me to become the best me possible.

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts.

My favourite memory from Place des Arts was when I was able to show off my ability to sing. Oftentimes I keep it hidden so to be able to share my talent is special. 

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you?

It has inspired me to let me see the world in a new way. To take a situation and find a solution that is beyond the obvious. This is a lesson that I often struggle with, so Place des Arts taught me a lot.

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts.

When I go to Place des Arts, it’s my home away from home. I have many friends to share many experiences with and this being my third time here, I feel a strong bond with all my other classmates

Krish Khatri, Music 

Teacher: Christina Krystecki | Place des Arts Scholarship

Age: 12

1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form?

I began piano lessons with Christina Krysteki when I was 7. I wanted to learn to play for a while since my older brother started playing piano when we were living in Australia for a few years. I would sometimes try to play myself and get my Mom to teach me a little bit. I also saw other students perform at music concerts.

2. Who is your role model and why?

I am lucky to have many people in my life such as my parents, my teacher, my brother and my other family members. I think it is so good that they do something they enjoy and share it with others.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form?

I like listening to the different sounds and moods that can be created with the keys on the piano. There are so many possibilities and I find it interesting and challenging at the same time. I like learning new pieces and working on them to get the details just right.

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals?

Winning this scholarship makes me feel proud because I always strive to do better and this means that I am going in the right direction to explore my interest in music. It also helps me to be more confident when I play in front of many people and in other areas of life.

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals?

My teacher Christina Krysteki has been there right from the beginning. She is patient and funny and helps me pick songs that I would enjoy playing. She always encourages me to do my best and perform more in recitals and festivals to increase my confidence. She also gets me to challenge myself by playing duets with my brother and other students. We learn about patience and teamwork.

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts.

I remember playing at one of my first recitals at Place des Arts. The room was big, but not too big, and my family came to listen to me play. I was so nervous before my turn but it went well and I enjoyed the rest of the recital.

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you?

Studying at Place des Arts has inspired me to try new things. There is always a buzz of activity and I see and hear people pursuing their own dreams.

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts.

I feel a sense of comfort whenever I come to Place des Arts every week. It is nice to see the creative artwork on the walls. Everyone is friendly and it is a great place to learn!

Kayla Price, Music

Teachers: Leanne Koch and Katrina Gillis | Leonore Peyton Memorial Award

Age: 16 

1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form? 

 My older sister (age 26 now) did singing lessons since she was young, and once I was 7-years-old we began seeing Leanne Koch for my sister’s singing lesson one week, and my singing lesson every second week. Eventually, my sister stopped taking lessons and I began taking them weekly. I’ve been taking weekly lessons since then.

2. Who is your role model and why? 

 Two big role models for me are Brian Dokko and my school’s drama teacher. Brian worked with the BCMEA honours vocal jazz ensemble in October of last year, and over the three days we had with him, he taught me and us as a group a lot about what it means to perform music for others, and how to make our time on stage one of the best feelings in the world. The drama teacher at my school, Mr. Maller, has taken it upon himself to direct the production and pit band groups of our school’s musical theatre production this year, Legally Blonde. He manages to do so much for our theatre and drama department, all while keeping a smile on his face, and I admire his ability to juggle so much at once and stay on top of everything going on.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form? 

 I love to sing and make music with others, and someday I want to share it with the world through teaching and performance.

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals? 

 This scholarship will take some financial stress off of my mom, as it pays for a good handful of singing lessons. It’ll be easier on my family to continue funding my musical ambitions.

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals? 

 Leanne Koch has taught me the proper classical techniques and skills to really find and harness my voice and sing out to the world, and this past year with Kat Gillis has helped me better develop my theory and music reading skills, as well as my more theatrical stage presence and mix register.

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts.  

 I love looking back on videos of my first few singing recitals, and how as a kid I absolutely hated singing in front of other people other than Leanne, not even my parents. Now though, I’m actively seeking out opportunities to perform at different school events and in the community. The recitals I have at Place des Arts always remind me of my immense growth over the years, and it brings me joy knowing that I’ll always continue to improve my skills for recitals and years to come.

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you?  

The two teachers I’ve worked with at Place des Arts while having pretty different teaching and singing styles, have both helped me so much in training my voice to do amazing things and sing some pretty difficult pieces. The amount I’ve improved over the past nine and a half years, both in voice and in stage presence, is really astonishing to me, and singing has become a true passion of mine that I want to pursue for the rest of my life. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to continue studying at Place des Arts.

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts.  

Coming to Place des Arts every week is bringing me a lot of joy. I love getting out of the car and walking through the front glass doors to see youths walking about, lots of gorgeous handmade art for sale, and the low-stress environment is really nice after a long day at school. Knowing I get to work with amazing mentors and get personal feedback from a teacher/friend, feels really great to walk in once a week.

Natalie Quiring, Dance

Teacher: Lucienne Anczykowski | Place des Arts Scholarship

Age: 17

1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form? 

I was inspired to start classes by trying (and failing) to imitate the dancers while watching Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. Eventually, I realized that if I wanted to actually learn how to do ballet I would need a little help, so I started classes with Miss Lucienne when I was five-years-old and have studied at Place des Arts with her ever since. 

2. Who is your role model and why? 

Jeannine Haller. I grew up watching her perform at recitals and following her journey through Place des Arts into the National Ballet, so she has always inspired me and been someone I look up to. She has shown me that with hard work and dedication, someone from a less recognized community can achieve amazing things.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form? 

 I can’t really pinpoint exactly what motivates me to continue ballet, but there are a multitude of factors that contribute to it. I believe it is a combination of the amazing people I have met through ballet, the way I can express myself through dance, how in every class I can push myself and make myself better, and maybe most importantly, the joy and exhilaration I feel when dancing. All of these things together create amazing experiences where I work incredibly hard for months in class, but when its time to perform, I can let go and enjoy the euphoria of the performance, confident that I am doing my best.

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals? 

I am going into university next year, and this will allow me to continue coming to Place des Arts by lessening the financial pressure. This will help me achieve my goal of pursuing musical theatre because I will be able to maintain my level of ballet and dance while developing other triple threat skills at school. 

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals? 

 Lucienne has helped me in so many ways. Not only is she an incredible ballet teacher, helping me develop my ability to a level that I didn’t think was possible, but she is also so supportive and teaches me so much outside of simply ballet technique. She has given me so many life lessons and helped me through so much, I would not have the dance ability nor the mindset to pursue my dreams without her.

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts.  

My favourite memory of Place des Arts ironically does not take place at Place des Arts. My favourite memory is the 2018 Year End Dance Recital. There was such a feeling of community backstage as I and the people in my classes laughing as we frantically changed our makeup, hair and costumes between dances. Wishing each other luck before going onstage, congratulating each other after great performances and crying together at the end of the recital because one of us was graduating and leaving for Toronto. All added up to an amazingly fun, fulfilling and yes, a little bittersweet experience that I love looking back at. 

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you?  

Stepping into Place des Arts is like entering a separate world of self-expression and contentment. It is so inspiring to be able to work in a place where there is so much creation and learning constantly happening around you. Hearing people learning their instruments, peeking in on whatever is happening in the LPS and seeing the art in the foyer all add to the environment and fills me with anticipation for what I am about to learn, create and express in my own classes. Even if I am here for a technique class, it makes me so much more determined to give my all and develop myself to my full potential. 

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts.  

Place des Arts is like a second home to me (really living up to its motto!). I am here five days a week, usually straight from school, and I feel completely comfortable and at peace when I am here. Stepping into Place des Arts is like entering a separate world of self-expression and contentment. I know that I will work hard, have fun, get better, be around people who share my passions, and for at least a while, forget any worries or stress from life outside, and that is incredibly calming and fulfilling.

Madeleine Quong-Lee, Music

Teachers: Leanne Koch and Katrina Gillis | Place des Arts Scholarship

Age: 15

1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form?

I have always been passionate about music, especially singing and performing. I really love singing. It is something that makes me happy even when my voice cracks and I get to laugh at myself! I feel I have improved so much since my very first singing lesson here at Place des Arts. This will only be my second year taking private singing lessons, however, as a little girl, I always loved to put on shows for my parents where I would sing and dance.

2. Who is your role model and why?

My “Grandma Gillian”, who calls me her “Chosen Granddaughter” is someone I look up to. Where do I even begin…she acted as Klondike Kate in the Yukon doing shows with can-can dancers and lots of singing. She has an incredible singing voice and she is honestly so wonderful. She is generous and kind-hearted, and never has a bad word to say about anyone. She does many charity gigs and gives to the community however she can. She is always willing to help and share her knowledge or experiences with younger generations. Grandma G’s amazing personality, and ability to “roll with the punches” is so inspirational. One of her favourite sayings is “A gig’s a gig, duckie” which is something I try to remember when things go awry.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form?

I am motivated by the knowledge that all my hard work is paying off. There are so many possibilities, and the growth in my voice has been so motivating. My passion for music and learning is another huge factor. I love listening to old recordings of my voice or watching old videos. Though it can be “cringey” I find it helps me.

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals?

Being awarded this scholarship has helped me to feel more comfortable about putting myself out there with my singing. This scholarship will help pay for my continuing vocal and tap lessons here at Place des Arts. I have always been passionate about music, especially singing and other performing arts such as theatre and dance.

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals?

Both Leanna Koch and Kat Gillis have been super supportive and helpful. They are so patient and encouraging. Throughout my vocal lessons, I have discovered new dimensions of my voice. I started out super quiet and not very confident, but I unlocked something and suddenly my voice is so much more powerful.

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts.  

When I was much younger, I used to take classes with Mr. I. They were the highlight of my week! I would come home with new instruments we made in class. I remember one day making a “rain stick” with a foam tube, beans, and toothpicks. I was so proud. To this day it is one of my prized possessions.

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you? 

The endless support from teachers and fellow students at recitals and performances has been incredible. Being surrounded by so much talent in all different art forms is unbelievably inspiring.

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts.  

It is inspiring to be around so many other talented artists of all forms. I love walking in each day for my lessons and being immersed in all the diverse forms of art. I feel surrounded by love and possibilities. We are all here to learn and support each other and that is exactly what we do. 

Kairo Robinson, Theatre Arts

Teacher: Seamus Fera | Coquitlam Maillardville Heritage Trust Award

Age: 15

1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form? 

 I started theatre six years ago when my elementary school started its own production. I enjoyed it so much I just never stopped. 

2. Who is your role model and why? 

My role model is one of my teachers at Place Des Arts who taught me a lot in class and outside of class if I ever wanted some extra advice on something.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form? 

 What keeps me motivated to do theatre is that moment when I truly embrace my character on stage. 

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals? 

 Winning this scholarship makes me feel like I have started to fulfill my goals in theatre.  

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals? 

 My teacher has helped me achieve my goals by giving me personal challenges.   

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts.  

 My favourite memory of Place Des Arts was my first performance there “The Chrysalids.”  

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you?  

 Studying at Place des Arts has inspired me to make big bold choices throughout acting and living.  

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts.

Every time I come to Place des Arts I still get excited to learn new things and see my friends.   

Cally Yeung, Music

Teacher: Isaac Juarez-Flores | Scholarship for Advanced Musical Studies

Age: 17

1. When and how did you get started practicing your art form? 

I started playing the piano at the age of seven when I first heard my older brother play. I love the beautiful melodies that could be expressed through this instrument, and I was fascinated with the idea of being able to create those lovely sounds myself. Thus, I decided to learn the piano.

2. Who is your role model and why? 

My role model is my mother. She is one of the hardest working people I know and self-sacrifices a lot for our family. As a child coming from a family of six, my mother was always busy as she had to take care of four children. Her hard work and determination never ceased to amaze me. At one point in my life she told me that as long as I had the will, I could persevere through any challenge in life. To this day, I use her as inspiration for piano. When I am practicing and preparing for concerts and festivals, I draw the same strength and determination that my mother has shown and use this to persevere through challenging pieces and etudes I may be preparing at the time.

3. What motivates you to continue to learn this art form? 

Watching my hard work pay off motivates me to continue practicing and learning the piano. As the recipient of the 2016 Coquitlam Maillardville Heritage Trust Award and the 2018 Leonore Peyton Memorial Award, I have shown clear and consistent progress in becoming skilled in piano. I also play piano sometimes for friends and family during gatherings and large social events. The atmosphere always becomes livelier and more welcoming whenever there is music in the background. The memories of my friends and family celebrating and enjoying themselves while I play piano has continued to motivate me to learn, as I want to keep sharing music with others in my life.

4. How does winning this scholarship help you achieve your goals? Receiving the Scholarship for Advanced Musical Studies encapsulates my experience as a student at Place des Arts. Although I am not pursuing a degree in musical studies, I plan to continue to be actively involved in the arts community at my post-secondary institution by participating in events that provide opportunities to showcase my skills as a musician. Such opportunities may include student-lead recitals, concerts and partaking in post-secondary concert ensembles. This award would assist me in funding these goals.

As well, receiving this award helps me gain recognition and support from others. It expands my network in the arts community by connecting me with other musicians. Expanding my presence in the arts community gives me opportunities to perform in recognized settings with larger audiences. I would treasure these enriching experiences for a lifetime, providing life lessons to learn and grow from. Overall, this award opens up possibilities to connect with other musicians, grow as an individual and ultimately become a positive influence in society.

5. How has your teacher helped you achieve your goals?

My teacher, Isaac Juarez Flores, has taught me piano for many years. He has pushed me to perform at my fullest potential, aiming to achieve great things that I never thought I would be able to achieve. Isaac had a big impact in my life, introducing me to opportunities where I could perform and compete, and fueling my interest in music in general. This scholarship in particular, which I thought would be impossible and out of my reach, would not have been possible without his constant support and assistance with my studies.

6. Tell us your favourite memory of Place des Arts.

My favourite memory at Place des Arts was volunteering during the Summer Fun! art camps. Working with young students and supervising them through art activities was an enjoyable and educational opportunity. I volunteered for two consecutive weeks. Although it was draining and I was exhausted by the end, the experience was still fulfilling and worth all the hours I put in because of all the new people I met; whether they be students or volunteers.

7. How has studying at Place des Arts inspired you?

The abundance of learning opportunities at Place des Arts has been inspirational to me. Place des Arts is one of the few art centres in the community that offers arts education through a variety of different forms of art. Studying in such an open environment has inspired me to take risks, like participating in recitals and competitions, and further develop my skills in piano.

8. Describe how you feel when you come to Place des Arts.

When I come to Place des Arts, I feel immediately immersed in the arts and ready to learn the piano. The environment is very unique to Place des Arts itself, and is unlike other public centres I have been to. I feel at ease and welcomed by individuals at Place des Arts who have always been polite during all the years I have studied there.

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