Blythe Heywood

Blythe Heywood

What education have you taken? 

I am completing my final year of a Bachelor in Music in Horn Performance. I also hold a Diploma in Violin Performance from Thames Valley University in England.

What accomplishments are you proud of? 

The two accomplishments that come to mind are from when I was in cadets. I was one of only two females selected across Canada to participate in a National Expedition where we canoed down the Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories. The Nahanni is extremely remote – we got float-planed in, and only saw one other person on the river for ten days. This experience made me feel like I could do anything in this life.

In 2008 I was awarded the Top Army Cadet Musician in Canada. It’s not so much the award that I’m proud of, but how everyone around me reacted when I got called up. All my friends started jumping up and down, yelling my name, and running up to me. They were all genuinely happy for me. That meant the most to me – that my peers were proud of me, not just the adults.

Tell me about yourself.

I was born on the edge of the outback in Australia (my parents were waiting for me to be born so they could move, and of course I was late) and grew up in a small community in the interior of British Columbia. We had no cell service or TV, instead I am one of the lucky ones whose childhood was idyllic. I attended a one room school with only twelve people from grade 1 to grade 3. Grade 4 meant I had to go to the “big” school which had about 100 students, so I did correspondence which meant I was able to spend my days with my siblings making forts, fishing, and swimming. Our “family outings” involved getting firewood or performing as the “Heywood Family Entertainers” (much like the Sound of Music). Funnily enough, my mother thought I was the “musical dud” of the family, because everyone else was extremely musical, and there I was … the one who couldn’t hold a tune … then I miraculously got better … and I like to think I’m still getting better.

Music was always interspersed through my childhood but I would go months without playing, especially during the summer because I loved being outside and the thought of staying inside devastated me. When I was seventeen I took three years off of music. I worked on a dairy farm in Saskatchewan for nine months and travelled around the world for the remainder of the time. While in Australia, I decided that I needed a focus – something to hold on to when life threw me lemons. In the back of my mind I always knew I would end up doing something in music, and the break from it helped solidify that.

How did you become interested in your field of study? 

Growing up in our household, and being the youngest of seven children, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. First of all, my mum taught us all the piano whether we wanted to or not. Second, being the youngest meant that I was the last hope for my mum. She always wanted a violinist, hence my journey on the violin. Then, when I joined cadets, also following suit of my siblings, mum suggested I play the horn, because in her opinion it was the most difficult.

What is your philosophy in life? 

People are just people. We all have an equal right to be here.

We never really know what goes on in the mind of someone else.

Let people be.

We can survive through anything.

It’s not the pursuit of happiness, but rather the happiness of pursuit.

Where do you see yourself in the future? 

That is a difficult question, because one never knows what can happen. I try not to live too far in the future because my life may be forced to go down one road. My immediate future I am currently auditioning for a Master’s in Horn Performance.

Nominator’s comments:

Blythe Heywood is an outstanding student in the School of Music who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Performance. During her studies at Brandon University she has been an excellent role model to younger students; with grace and wit, her leadership style empowers others to do their best work. She leads by example. Blythe is actively involved with the local Cadet program and with the Canadian Military’s premiere ensembles.