Singer Marcel d’Entremont of Merigomish was among the winners in this year’s Nova Scotia Talent Trust Awards.
Marcel d’Entremont of Merigomish has won a Nova Scotia Talent Trust Awards. He is pictured here performing in the Nova Scotia International Tattoo last summer. Submitted
He was the recipient of the $1,500 Portia White Award for voice. D’Entremont is currently studying for his Masters of Music in Voice/Opera degree at the University of Toronto. He took some time to answer some questions for The News.
Q: Can I get your reaction to winning this award?
A: The news that I was receiving the Portia White Award was obviously a surprise. The news comes in the form of an email, so it's not something you are expecting or waiting on. As well, the talent trust distributes scholarships to many, many deserving recipients, so there are other people who would have been equally deserving of the award, and for that reason I do feel very fortunate and privileged to have been chosen.
Q: How will this help you in your pursuit of a masters in music?
A: The money from this award along with the actual scholarship will greatly help my schooling expenses. I'm currently in a two-year, master's program at the University of Toronto, and it's really expensive. I have been even more fortunate to have had my tuition covered, but this is not even half of the costs that I am incurring while there. The cost of living is astronomically high, and I need to pay for public transit as well as my accompanist: two expenses that I didn't have to worry about at Acadia or Mount A. These things add up very quickly, and the money from this scholarship will greatly subside the anxiety of facing a huge student debt at the end of my degree.
Q: How are your studies going?
A: My studies are going really well so far. U of T is really challenging in the sense that there hundreds of other students who are aspiring to do the same thing that you are, and they are all very talented. My studio is comprised of I believe 23 people, all of whom are more or less at the top of their year. Darryl Edwards hand-selects his students, his studio is not assigned to him (he is also the head of voice, so that make it easy for him to do so) and he knows a lot about singing, and has a lot of really good connections in the Canadian opera scene. It's really inspiring to be around a group of people who all really want a career in singing, and actually have the talent and determination to do so. This is perhaps the biggest benefit of being at a large institution; they are able to be very selective with who they accept.
Q: What opportunities are you getting to use your voice in and outside of school these days?
A: As a master's student, I was a little unprepared for how many of my classes would actually be about singing. In fact, only one course in my schedule this semester was not a singing class. I have a private bi-weekly coaching with someone other than my accompanist or teacher, an oratorio class which is comprised of master's and forth-year performance students where we’re literally singing solos, duets, trios, quartets and an octet strictly from the oratorio repertory, as well as an hour-long coaching with my accompanist, and an hour-long lesson with my teacher. It's a light course load, but apparently this is typical because you have such a vast amount of repertoire that you need to learn, which is largely your independent responsibility. I also have a weekly studio class, which is where everyone who studies with Darryl will meet and sing for one another, and get critiqued.
I also have the opportunity to sing every so often at a Tuesday noon-hour class which is open to all music students and public (it is expected that if you are a voice student that you will be there). Our oratorio class is going to be filling one of these concerts the first Tuesday back in the new year.
I also have the opportunity to sing in a master class for the American mezzo, Stephanie Blythe, who is renowned for her work at the Met. Early in the new year, so that will be something to look forward to. Outside of class, I am hired to sing in a church choir, which presents the occasional Bach cantata, in which I always sing the tenor solos. I also did a Messiah in P.E.I. this month, and have sung at few other places around the city. I also volunteer once every two weeks at a seniors home, where I play and sing songs from the 1920s to ’50s.
Q: What are your plans for when you get out of school?
A: I don't really have any definite plans for when I get out of school as of yet. More school is probable. I'm looking at a diploma in opera and possibly a doctor of Musical Arts after that, but who knows? I'd love to perform in opera for a career, but the reality is that it's a highly competitive world, and I'm not convinced that I have the ability to make it, so we'll see. I am looking at some competitions in the next few years which might give me a better idea of where I realistically stand in the large scheme of things, so I'll be able to make a more informed decision after that.