The Elizabeth Scott Vocal Choral Bursary is once again being awarded to a young voice student from the area.
This year’s winner is Cormac Eby, a baritone who is studying at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Que.
“I’ve been told that the only university students who put in more hours that those in medicine are the voice students. They have many classes in languages, history and theory as well as voice,” said bursary committee member Catherine Dawson. “Also they must spend many hours of practice with and without an accompanist and in Cormac’s case also manage to find enough hours in the day to have a part-time job. Both of his letters of reference comment on his excellent work ethic and time management skills.”
As has been the case with several previous winners, Eby comes from a musical family. His parents both play and he and his siblings all sang in Elizabeth Scott’s youth choirs, took private lessons in voice and on different instruments.
Eby plays the violin and after taking a sabbatical from playing, has started performing again.
One of his fondest memories is of traveling with the Young Scott Singers to Ottawa, where 40 of them had been invited to sing at the Canada Day celebrations. He was in elementary school at the time.
Young men’s voices are said to mature more slowly than young women’s, so Eby has spent some of the years since high school learning other skills. He took a course in cabinet making on Vancouver Island, singing in a choir while there.
At least one Vernon family has a wall of shelves and cupboards and drawers that Eby created before he headed east to study at Bishop’s.
While in Vernon, he also sang in the Counterpoint choir and determined that vocal music, either as a teacher or performer, was the future he could see for himself.