Four young teens have a golden musical touch.
Nanaimo’s Hayley Farenholtz received the medal for her Grade 6 harp examination; Karolina Malinowska, for Grade 2 guitar, Rhys Wong, 12, for preparatory guitar and Gabriola’s Ian Perry, 12, received a gold medal for his Grade 1 guitar examination.
Gold medals were awarded to the musicians by The Royal Conservatory in early March, which are given for the highest mark on annual examinations.
Malinowska, 15, has been playing the guitar for five years. Two years ago she started taking The Royal Conservatory examinations.
Getting the guitar was an impulse buy when she was out with her father but it soon became a passion of hers.
“I was really surprised,” she said about receiving the award. “I didn’t know I did that well.”
Malinowska said her teacher inspires her because he allows the students to play different types of music and make choices instead of dictating what music they must play. This allows the musicians to feel more in control, said Malinowska.
Receiving the medal has motivated Malinowska.
“It motivated me to practice more,” she said.
Because Malinowska did so well she is skipping straight to the Grade 4 guitar level next year.
She said the ceremony where she received the medal was very fun.
“I didn’t know it was going to be so special,” she said.
Her long term goal is to get to the Grade 10 and 12 level and participate in provincials.
“This teacher (Patrick Olmsted) truly inspired her and made her do quite well,” said Malinowska’s mother Anna.
Farenholtz, 15, said she was thrilled when she learned about getting a gold medal. It’s the second time she’s received one.
“I was thrilled, totally overjoyed. It was fantastic,” she said. “Music is just a huge passion of mine.”
She said the harp is a fabulous way to express herself artistically.
“It’s a beautiful instrument. I love the sound of it. My grandmother played it,” she said. “It’s always been a part of my upbringing.”
The harp player hopes to turn her passion into a lifelong career by joining a symphony when she is older.
The Royal Conservatory is one of Canada’s oldest independent arts educators and is regarded as one of the most respected education institutions in the world, according to the organization’s website. The curriculum offered by the conservatory has become a national standard.