Nadya Blanchette always wanted to be a performer.
At one year old she would sing into the end of a watering hose as if it were a microphone.
When she was a little older she began joining her mother and grandmother for performances at Montreal’s Place des Arts concert hall to see “the great singers of the time” accompanied by orchestras for the first time. She would later start to create her own shows and monologues.
Her interest in the performing arts continued in high school, around the time she started singing opera. She said she hoped to pursue a career in the arts to “do something that brought people together and that made people happy and alive and something that brings joy.”
“Music is art and music and art are life, expressions of life, expressions of hope, expressions of identity, who we are, and that really resonates with me,” she said.
Over the last two decades as a professional opera singer, Blanchette’s voice had led her to performances with Cirque du Soleil, the Vancouver Symphony and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2000 she sang at former prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s state funeral.
“I don’t know that I ever thought to do anything else in life,” Blanchette said.
“I knew that I wanted to do something artistic. I love to write as well … and theatre interested me very much. Anything that was with an audience. Playful, whimsical, creative, and direct with them.”
This fall Blanchette moved with her husband – Vancouver Island Symphony artistic director Pierre Simard – and children to Nanaimo. She is now serving as an instructor at the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music.
“There are great possibilities here and I’m excited about what’s coming,” she said of the move.
Blanchette has been teaching for as long as she has been singing. In her new surroundings she hopes to pass on her knowledge and teach the young and young at heart the opportunities for self-growth and self-expression that come with a musical education.
“As a performer, as an artist and as a trainee myself I find it very refreshing and very, I would say, humbling at the same time because we do want to transmit what was triggered in us when we discovered learning music,” she said.