At this moment, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude for a very special individual who has left her indelible mark of excellence and passion on all that is SJMA.
Kathryn Walker, our founder and visionary, our mentor and friend, retired from SJMA in 2020. A woman of singular grace, compassion, and brilliance, Kathryn taught us all to remain steadfast to the highest of ideals in the face of all obstacles.
Following Kathryn, I can only feel that I stand on the shoulder of giants. Yet, as much as it has been a challenge it has also been an honour, and most simply, a joy to be involved in this beautiful community that is Kathryn’s vision.
It is this gift for which all of us at SJMA are grateful, and which keeps us looking forward each day with optimism, joy and belief in the possibilities of the beauty we can create together.
This June I graduated from SJMA. I’ve been a student of the academy throughout all of my school years. I first started my musical journey in 2008 when I was in Kindergarten.
Luckily, I didn’t have to look very far for friends or mentors—SJMA gave me both.
As a young child, getting your first instrument is a big deal. The excitement I felt when I was able to learn songs on the violin that I’ve always heard, never quite goes away.
Music lessons are not something that I feel like I have to do, but rather something I look forward to doing. I strongly believe that’s because of the environment SJMA has cultivated for its students. Many of my personal morals and values stem from my love and appreciation of my community, and SJMA is an extension of that.
Throughout the years at SJMA, I have had so many special experiences that I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in. I’ve been able to be part of an orchestra, a choir, and even a fiddle group. I attended music camps and events that I would otherwise have no opportunity to go to.
“My connection to my community, the support I’ve experienced and the knowledge that all my efforts have given me a lifelong love for music, are things I will cherish forever.” – Moya Joya
SJMA has been one of the biggest sources of fun in my life—but like most things that are meaningful, it has its own set of challenges too.
I had to develop a type of discipline and commitment that not everyone gets the chance to learn, especially at such a young age. It can be a lot of work and responsibility.
Having music school as such a constant in my life, I’ve come to realize just how much it has helped me get to where I am now, and where I want to be. The skills that I’ve developed are not just applicable to music but also help with my pursuit of education.
I am currently preparing to go to university in September, and SJMA has played a pivotal role in this. I have been supported by the academy in my scholarship applications, and they also helped me develop the confidence to be able to strive for success.
I didn’t know what SJMA would mean to me when I started—but I am so glad that I did. My connection to my community, the support I’ve experienced, and the knowledge that all my efforts have given me a lifelong love for music, are things I will cherish forever.
Help children discover the joys of a musical life with a gift today!
Our goal for September 2021 is to increase the amount of time our students spend on site, while maintaining the necessary physical distance. This is with the hope of making the most of our time together and amplifying the experience of connectedness, community, friendships and the joys of making music together.
For the first time since COVID-19 touched all of our lives, we are overjoyed to be able to welcome a new cohort of students to the program for the fall of 2021. With many students facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, often in addition to other issues such as learning differences or trauma, our Music Therapy program has been expanded to allow more students to access the gift of music under the care of fully accredited music therapists.
Additionally, all of our teachers have been provided professional development through the Neufeld Institute. The insights of child psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld will help our teachers to understand the developmental needs of children and be better positioned to support them through good times and bad.
Looking ahead, we’re also excited to be further developing our youth mentorship program with advanced senior program students and SJMA alumni. Through this program, our mature students and alumni develop leadership skills by working with novice level musicians. Many thanks to volunteer Johann Krebs of BC Pianocraft for his unparalleled support in providing the development of the instrument maintenance training for this program as well.
We’d like to thank our wonderful family of supporters for paving the way for these developments. You are making a tremendous difference in the lives of children this year.
Our warmest congratulations to our former cello teacher, Nico Stephenson, and our teaching volunteer, Laura Hill who recently became engaged to be married this past April.
We’d also like to express our gratitude to Nico’s parents, Sandra Lauck and Rob Stephenson, for choosing to mark their family’s joyous occasion with an investment in the future of children through music. “I’m not a musician myself, just a music appreciator,” says Sandra. “But we know what a difference music makes for children, and we really love the work that you are all doing at SJMA.”
This contribution is a beautiful example of each of us giving as we are able to, which is what makes SJMA such a strong and amazing community.