I am currently in my fourth year of the five-year Concurrent Bachelor of Music/ Bachelor of Education. I am focusing on senior year’s choral music, and study voice under Naomi Forman. History is my second teachable area.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
I am proud of many things in my life. I will briefly describe two accomplishments that I have achieved in the past few years.
Since becoming a student at Brandon University, I have had the opportunity to become a member of the Brandon University Student Music Educators’ Association (BUSMEA). BUSMEA is a professional development association comprised of music education students. This is my second year as a member of the BUSMEA council, acting as student representative in 2009-2010 and as vice president this year. I have helped organize and plan events and professional development workshops for music education students. Through working with BUSMEA, I have developed many professional skills, such as communication and organization. I am so glad to be a member of BUSMEA. I work with many other great people, as well as get to know other professionals in the Music Education field.
In the fall of 2009, I was given the opportunity to become the director of the Hartney and Area Community Choir. This was an educational opportunity to gain valuable experience directing a choir. I did not know what I was getting into when I agreed to do this, but I am so glad I agreed to it! Each week, I worked with approximately twelve women, helping them prepare music for a Christmas concert. The women in this choir were welcoming and enthusiastic, ready to try any ideas I had for them. Our second concert took place in the fall of 2010, and I continue working with them now. With this position, I have experienced a re-affirmation for my love of choral music and helping others make music. No matter how tired I felt before driving out to Hartney, I always left rehearsal feeling energetic, and excited. I know that I am in the right field, and I look forward to my future choirs.
Tell me about yourself/ your background/ your history.
I was raised on a farm in Stonewall. I am the youngest of three children and have one brother and one sister. My mom is an elementary school teacher, and my dad is a grain and beef producer. Throughout my life, my family has been involved in our church and our local community. Growing up, I took piano lessons and sang in an ensemble with my cousins. I was a member of 4-H for six years and developed many skills and interests, including a love for photography. I have been an active member of several churches and camps, acting as both participant and leader of Sunday School Classes, Drama teams and Music Ministries. My parents have made faith and family priorities in my life and to this day, we make a conscious effort to eat breakfast and do a family devotion together. My dad has said he does this because he wants to spend time with us before the world does. I have also been raised with a love of my past. I am the sixth generation on my farm, as my ancestors came to Canada as Selkirk Settlers. Throughout my life, I have been a member of the Lord Selkirk Association of Rupertsland. I love finding out where people come from and how they got to were they are today.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. My love for choral music developed as a result of the experiences I had growing up, singing in various choral ensembles. My mom formed a group called “The Matheson Cousins” for my cousins and me when we were young. We would prepare and perform musical numbers together. I love the sound of good harmony! I have sung in many choirs throughout my life, and since I was five, I have always been participating in at least one ensemble at a time.
What is your philosophy in life?
I believe the way I live my life is a reflection of my personal philosophy of life. I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour, and everything in my life is because of him. I strive, although I often fail, to live my life in a way that is honouring to him. I work hard for my achievements and I work hard to do the best I can in all of my endeavours. I believe life is not about earning the most money or receiving the highest promotion, but about doing what you love and doing the best you can do no matter what you are doing.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I see many possible outcomes for my future, and as my graduating year approaches, I am willing to go in many directions. In 2009, my family travelled to New Zealand, and I developed a love for that country. I would love to have the opportunity to go back to the South Island and teach choir for a year. A second idea is to teach as soon as I graduate, and I would love to get a full time job teaching choirs or music. In order to do this, I am willing to move anywhere across Canada if the opportunity presents itself.
I want to continue being involved in the local choral community, such as the Manitoba Choral Association. I also have a goal to continue furthering my education through actively participating as a musician. I would love to join a new choral ensemble, or be trained in vocal jazz.
I believe that I will be a lifelong learner, constantly developing knowledge in new areas. I hope to learn American Sign Language (ASL), as well as take courses in photography. I have also written a “Bucket List” of 100 things I want to do before I die. I would love to accomplish all the things on that list.
Roberta is an outstanding fourth-year student who volunteers on a large number of School of Music student committees. She is on the Executive Committee of the Brandon University Student Music Educators Association and plays a leadership role in fundraising and travel for the BU Chorale, an ensemble that will be touring Cuba later this year. In addition, Roberta has taken the initiative to provide musical outreach by conducting choir in rural Manitoba. Her positive attitude towards her studies and her inclusive nature has served to build bridges between students in diverse programs in the School of Music and also between Brandon University and communities in Southwestern Manitoba. Having grown up on a farm near Stonewall, Manitoba, Roberta is a problem-solving, thoughtful, and respected member of our community.