Arts & Culture

Richmond Music School reaches out in its 40th year

By Andrew Hung

Published 1:53 PDT, Thu September 19, 2019

Last Updated: 2:12 PDT, Tue October 22, 2019

The Richmond Music School has grown considerably since its humble beginnings in September 1979, when only eight students took the school’s first classes in Trinity Lutheran Church.

Entering its 40th year in September, the music school has expanded its programs, which now include the Violin Outreach Program, the Children’s Choir and Youth Choir, and the Strings Orchestra.

In addition, the school offers a busy performing program each year, featuring concerts like the Concerto Concert, where student soloists perform alongside professional orchestral musicians. Other concerts include the annual Christmas
concerts and the Ensemble Concert.  

But serving the people of Richmond still remains central in the Richmond Music School’s mission.

“We do everything with a ‘give back’ in mind,” said principal Meghan Verdejo, who was previously general manager of the Richmond Community Orchestra and Chorus Association, and has a Master of Music in Viola Performance from the University of British Columbia.

“Part of what we do is to always put programs together that fulfill a need in the community, and that give back to the community in some way.”

Long-running initiatives like the Beginner Piano Program gives starting students a chance to take lessons with apprentice teachers, all of whom have professional piano degrees, at an affordable price.

The school will be building on its storied legacy and decades of community involvement, and work towards even more opportunities to reach the city. 

“As we enter our 40th anniversary, we actually have more community work planned than any other year,” said Verdejo.

The Richmond Music School will be participating in Richmond Culture Days, held this year from Sept. 27 to 29, and its students will also be playing at the Brighouse branch of the Richmond Public Library.  

During the holiday season, students will be performing in Lansdowne Centre and Aberdeen Centre.

In addition to the concerts, Verdejo says that the school will be holding interactive experiences that encourage active participation from the audience.

“Trying to get people to participate in the arts isn’t always easy, because of the barrier of affordability,” the principal said. 

“We’re bridging that gap, so we’re offering free opportunities for people to come and participate in the arts and music.”

Regular performances will also be held at the Gilmore Gardens Retirement Residence and The Maple Residences.  

These concerts will allow the residents to still enjoy the arts, as some of them might not have the accessibility to go to performing arts events, says Verdejo.

“We go to the people, rather than expecting people to come to us,” she said.

Performances in the community will also benefit the music school’s students, giving the young musicians more opportunities to perform and hone their craft.

“We’re celebrating with and reaching out to the community,” said Verdejo.  

“We hope that they will come and join us in these celebrations that we’re putting on all year.”

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