Scholarship Recital 2022

Anya Massa, performing La Straniera by Daniela at the Scholarship Recital

After a two year hiatus, the Scholarship Recital was back in person. Congratulations to all of our hard-working students who participated in the recital this year, your efforts were outstanding!

Aimee Glasser, Level 7 Piano – Heartwood Homes Scholarship

Akasha McCleary, Level 6 Violin—Vernon Volkswagen Scholarship

Alex Thiessen, Grade 10 Voice—Dr. Lora Fellenz and Dr. Mathias Fellenz Scholarship

Amy Milne, Level 6 Piano—David and June Rempel Scholarship

Anya Massa, Level 8 Violin – Sandro Banducci Memorial Scholarship

Autumn Sunderland, Level 8 Violin—Caroline Galbraith Memorial Scholarship

Aya Swerdelian, Level 6 Violin—MQN Architects Scholarship

Evy Erikson, Level 6 Violin—Patti Brenner Memorial Scholarship

Hadley Lanaway, Level 6 Piano – Discovery Optometry Scholarship

Joshua Mark, Level 9 Piano – Sharon McMurtry Memorial Scholarship

Matteo Thiessen, Level 8 Cello—James Frederick Roh Memorial Scholarship

Max Henschel, Level 6 Piano—Karen Rempel Scholarship

Ralph Rasquinha, Level 6 Piano—Dante Darkazanli Memorial Scholarship

Ulyana Doerksen, Level 8 Voice – Sandro Banducci Memorial Scholarship

VCMS Vocal Ensemble
  Alex Thiessen, Level 10 Voice—Elizabeth Scott Scholarship for Young Musicians  
  Matteo Thiessen, Level 9 Voice— Elizabeth Scott Scholarship for Young Musicians
  Ulyana Doerksen, Level 8 Voice— Elizabeth Scott Scholarship for Young Musicians

Thank you to all of you for being a part of our Music School, and for your dedication to your respective programs. We appreciate you and all the effort that goes into your studies, and we look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

Guitar Recital

Ken Scott’s guitar students recently completed a recital to showcase all of their hard work thus far in the school year. Ken’s mentorship student, Jadyn Dobernigg, also has students performing. Sit back, relax, and enjoy listening to these students play!

Congratulations to Sean Fehlauer, Jonah Deans, Elise Dobernigg, Jeremy Fehlauer, Faith Koscielny, Levi Koscielny, Olive Butler, Melvin Guse, Nico Schuch, Oliver Wu, Claire Dobernigg, Samson Lishman, Seamus Powell, Jadyn Dobernigg, Hannah Calder and Savannah Mason.

Also, a huge congratulations to our mentee student Jadyn Dobernigg, and the students in her studio: Noah Mulligan, Carter Linkletter, and Payton Orr.

Job well done, everyone! Thank you for representing the Music School so well!

February 2022 Guitar Recital

Spring Newsletter

Hurray for March! Spring is just around the corner and with that, so is Spring Break!

A quick reminder the office will be closed for Spring Break from March 21st – 25th. Please remember to check in with your teacher to determine what his/her studio is doing for Spring Break.

The Spring Newsletter is ready for viewing! Put on the kettle, sit back and enjoy reading all of the wonderful things that are happening here at the school. Click on the link to download your pdf copy.

Spring Newsletter 1
Spring Newsletter 2
Spring Newsletter 3
Spring Newsletter 4
Spring Newsletter 5
Spring Newsletter 6
Spring Newsletter 7
Spring Newsletter 8
Spring Newsletter 9
Spring Newsletter 10

VCMS Masterclass Series

Last night was a wonderful opportunity for three piano students. Veronica Ociepa, Teslyn Bates, and Jaeden Izik-Dzurko participated in a Masterclass by professional concert pianist Aljoša Jurinić. Aljoša is originally from Croatia and currently pursuing a DMA at the University of Toronto. He is established on international stages and world piano competitions, and is hailed as a startlingly subtle and visionary pianist with a rare blend of charm and mastery.

Veronica Ociepa performing Nocturne C# by Chopin
Teslyn Bates performing the first movement of Piano Sonata in E flat major, Hob XVI:52: I. Allegro by Haydn
Jaeden Izik-Dzurko performing Scherzo #4 by Chopin

For three hours, Aljoša spent time with each student going through their selected pieces and providing advice, encouragement and suggestions on how to improve their playing. Not only is Aljoša Jurinić incredibly intelligent and thought provoking, but his character and the way he interacts with others with respect and appreciation is outstanding.

Jaeden Izik-Zdurko performing Scherzo #4 by Chopin

Aljoša is here in Vernon for the NOCCA concert, happening tonight at 7:30pm at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are available at

The Music School would like to thank the BC Arts Council for this magnificent grant opportunity.

Practice Makes Perfect

Our 100 Days of Practice challenge is in full swing as we move into February. For those of you participating, we hope you are able to carve out sections of your day for your practice, that you are noticing improvements in your playing, and that you are super proud of what you have accomplished so far!

Daphne Letourneau Participates in the 100 Days of Practice Challenge

Daphne is a student of Carole Ruth, and has just recently started playing the violin. Some of you may know her grandfather, Denis Letourneau. Denis has been a long time supporter of the Vernon Community Music School, and was one of the first teachers to teach at the Music School in 1976.

Denis Letourneau Started Teaching Violin at VCMS in 1976
1982 – The Year The Music School Purchased the Smith House
Second from left: Carole Ruth Far right: Denis Letourneau

Both Denis and Carole taught violin when the Music School was located in the Army Camp in the K Hut from 1976-1982, and then moved to our current location in the heritage Smith House building. What a history!

Former Music School Student Composes in Vienna

Happy Monday! We hope you had an enjoyable weekend! Here’s a great news piece to start off your week. The film below was composed and animated by former student of Geoff Barker, Megan Van Den Maagdenberg. She is now a student at Vienna Music Institute, and she was invited for a wonderful opportunity to compose music based on the life of Viennese artist Heinz Frank.

Heinz Franks’s daughter, Lilli Breuer, invited some composers to write music based on Frank’s apartment, life and artwork as a musical installment to the museum. Megan was able to go in and see the apartment, take photos, make notes, and then compile all the information. After Frank died, they found about four boxes of additional art called Tagebuchs (day books) that had never been seen before. He did one painting per day, every day, for years. The artwork in the film below were copies of some of the original day books that Lilli scanned to Megan to use for her creative endeavors.

This is such an exciting project and we are so proud of Megan in all of her efforts. It is truly an exceptional example of digging into yourself and working on something that acknowledges music and the arts, bringing joy and happiness for everyone who watches.


Thank you, Megan, for sharing this with us! We are so grateful! Congratulations on this remarkable project. Click on the link to watch

Megan Van Den Maagdenberg's composition and artwork on the life of Heinz Frank
Megan Van Den Maagdenberg’s composition and artwork on the life of Heinz Frank

Generous Donation

Thank you so much to Sue Matovich and Imant Raminsh, volunteers at the Book Warehouse located in the Alpine Centre on Kal Lake Road, for a very generous donation to the Music School. We are so grateful to be able to work together to help strengthen our community. If you’re in need of a great used book, please consider visiting their store. They have a great selection and very friendly volunteers to help you find what you’re looking for!

Imant Raminsh handing a cheque to VCMS President Lori Johnson
Imant Raminsh handing a cheque to VCMS President Lori Johnson

Violin Spots Available

Violin lessons available at VCMS

There are a few spots open for violin students! If you know of a future musician who would love to learn in the Suzuki violin program, please reach out to Ms. Natalie Kober. Lessons start at one half hour each week, with a group lesson opportunity once we have groups up and running again.

The Suzuki Method

The Suzuki method applies the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and is called the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving encouragement, constant repetition, etc., are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.

Parent Involvement

As when a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. One parent often learns to play before the child, so that they understand what the child is expected to do. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.

Expanded meaning of ‘parent’ to include any caregiver, guardian, grandparent, etc who is supporting the child in the learning process.

Early Beginning

The early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin.


Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music every day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.


Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.

Music for January

If you’re looking to cheer yourself up during the long month of January, why not check out our Vernon Community Music School’s YouTube page! There is something for everyone and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face – including our virtual Christmas concerts!


Thank you to Community Foundation North Okanagan for their continued support for this project and the arts community.