Galen Boulanger (left) and Iain Corrie (right) with their teacher Mathilde Klassen.

Pair of Nelson golden voices tops in province

A pair of Nelson vocal students will be receiving provincial medals for achieving the highest marks in British Columbia

A pair of Nelson vocal students will be receiving provincial medals for achieving the highest marks in British Columbia on their Royal Conservatory of Music Exams.

Galen Boulanger and Iain Corrie both came out tops in the province after the exams were scored across the province for tests taken last spring. They will receive their gold medals next month.

“I am bursting with pride,” said Mathilde Klassen, the local vocal and speech arts teacher who both boys have been working with. “I have had lots of students get medals and each one is a very meaningful.”

Boulanger earned his gold medal in the Grade 5 vocal exam. He works with Klassen twice a week.

“I was actually very surprised,” the 14-year-old said. “I did well, but I didn’t think it would result in this.”

Boulanger played the lead role of Charlie Brown in last summer’s Capitol Theatre youth theatre production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. He also plays rep soccer, downhill skis, Nordic skis, and plays a variety of instruments (trumpet, piano, guitar and ukulele).

The conservatory exams consist of performance and music theory. Boulanger worked with Donna Goodwin-Wilson on the theory part of the test where he scored 99 per cent.

“It’s amazing how much it helps your overall music background,” said Boulanger, who is in Grade 9 at L.V. Rogers.

“I think I will always be singing and doing music for sure,” said Boulanger, who just finished competing in the Kootenay Festival of the Arts where he earned a trip to the Performing Arts of BC provincial finals in Nanaimo at the end of May. “Whether I want to be a professional singer when I am older, I am not sure of that. But what I am doing now will definitely play a big part in my life for sure.”

Corrie is a Grade 6 student who now goes to school in Kelowna. He has worked with Klassen for three years. Corrie earned his provincial gold medal for Grade 3 speech arts.

“It takes a lot of work with Mrs. Klassen and at home,” said Corrie.

“I like it because there is always something to work on, you can’t get it absolutely perfect. There is always a challenge which I like.”

When he is not working on his vocal performances, Corrie plays soccer, tennis, downhill skis and is in a choir in Kelowna.

Speech arts and vocal require students to perform solo in front of audiences and judges. Corrie said it’s not easy, but he enjoys the challenge.

“Everybody gets nervous, but it’s kind of a like an adrenalin rush,” said the 11-year-old.

Boulanger agrees that working with Klassen helps him acquire skills to perform in front of an audience.

“Speech arts helps you get up in front of a crowd and it’s a huge skill to have,” Boulanger said of his summer theatre experience.

“I didn’t realize that until I went more into theatre and saw other kids having challenges with that.”

Klassen, who has been preparing music students for provincial exams for 45 years, said both Boulanger and Corrie earned their accolades.


“They worked hard,” she said. “It takes a lot of work and talent.”



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