Unity resident, 11-year-old Kaybree Spendelow, was the 2016 winner of the Royal Conservatory of Music gold medal award in Grade 4 piano and Grade 2 voice.
Gold medals are awarded each academic year from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 by province or region for candidates who have achieved the highest mark for practical examinations in each discipline. In order to be eligible for these awards, recipients must have obtained a minimum mark of 80 per cent on their practical examination and have completed the theory requirements for their level.
Kaybree took both exams in June, earning 95 per cent on both and learned of her marks in July. Kaybree was then notified in September that she would be receiving gold medals for both of these examinations.
Kaybree was invited to the Saskatchewan Gold Medal Awards Ceremony in Regina to celebrate her excellence in music with the community of gold medal teachers and fellow medalists from this year.
The ceremony took place at University Theatre at the University of Regina the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 3. Following the ceremony of medal presentations, there was a reception held in the hall for attendees and their families.
Practice is the main element Kaybree says contributed to her success.
“I also am lucky to have wonderful and knowledgeable teachers as well as taking part in the annual music festival,” she said.
Kaybree is instructed in piano by Robyn Rutherford and her voice instructor is Bari Bertoia.
Kaybree started playing piano at age three, completing the Music For Young Children program and from there she started attending private piano lesions with Rutherford at age eight and began voice lessons at seven years of age.
While the list of gold medallists for this ceremony contained mainly students from Regina and Saskatoon, it was an accomplishment for both instructors and student to see small town Saskatchewan represented in the ceremony.
“As mentioned by the keynote speaker, music is a gift that will last a lifetime, but does take a lot of practice and dedication,” Kaybee says.
She says music study does not result in instant gratification, but is worth the hard work.
“When applying for schooling or jobs, noted music achievements are often taken into consideration,” she explains, “[indicating] that the applicant has the ability to stick with something … and not give up.”
Kaybree can be seen at recitals held for either of her music teachers and she performed at the Nov. 27 music festival event held at the Baptist Church and will take part in the annual Unity Music Festival again in spring. During winter, Kaybree can be seen at the curling rink as she does both junior curling and league curling Thursday nights with her dad and Kennedi and Kevin Bretzer.