By Kathryn-Jane Hazel
When 18-year-old Jasmine Walters first joined Malaspina Choir last fall, she made an immediate impression.
It wasn’t just the mellow quality of her alto voice and the easy confidence with which she sang that made her stand out, but her sense of professionalism and dedication.
This was especially striking for a teenager, who has not always been given the best breaks in life and has had to work extremely hard.
“From an early age she’s had to take care of herself,” said her foster mom and former president of Malaspina Choir, Stephanie Johnson.
Since Johnson took the Nanaimo District Secondary School student under her wing a year ago, gave her a home, and introduced her to Malaspina Choir, Walters has blossomed, and revealed a major musical talent.
“All she needed was someone to believe in her, who loves her, and is steady for her” Johnson said.
On Saturday (May 9) Walters will be singing a solo at the Malaspina Choir’s Dream of Summer concert at St. Andrew’s United Church. The concert will include Opera Nanaimo and the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra.
“The people from Malaspina Choir helped me realize how much I had to offer,” Walters said.
Walters, who plays trumpet in the NDSS jazz band as well as the French horn in the school’s concert band, is currently studying voice and music theory under Malaspina Choir’s Sharon Wishart.
Wishart, who has taught voice and piano for more than 35 years, said Walters work habits are beyond her years.
“She takes responsibility for her work and for her progress,” Wishart said. “Her attitude and work ethic is so unusual in a young person her age.”
Work is something that Walters knows all about. The teen has had to work two part-time jobs in order to pay for music lessons, all while attending high school, participating as a member of the Sinclair Singers and serving on the board of Malaspina Choir.
And as if that wasn’t enough for the teenager, Walters has her own band, Idle Ocean, where she writes her own songs, plays guitar, piano and the bagpipes.
“It’s amazing how much a group of people you hardly even know can change your life,” Walters said.
The concert starts 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s United Church, 311 Fitzwilliam St. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. EyeGo members pay $5.
For tickets and more information, please visit www.porttheatre.com or www.malaspinachoir.com.