Kathleen began taking lessons at the Community Music School of Waterloo Region at the beginning of high school, shortly after moving to Canada. Her family had immigrated from The Philippines where her father was an engineer and her mother was a business owner. Her mother had arrived in Canada first and a few years later, Kathleen, her father and her brother joined her. Like many other immigrants, their reasons for moving to Canada were to give their children more opportunities, even if it meant her parents working multiple factory jobs as their academic credentials were no longer recognized.
Kathleen is a wonderful young woman. She is kind and compassionate and an excellent student. However, she was also very shy, and the first years that she lived in Canada were difficult for her. She had to learn to speak English and to understand our confusing Canadian culture and customs. As she put it, she was always known as the immigrant kid, and she had to overcome many social barriers.
When Kathleen started taking piano lessons, she was very quiet, but she worked hard and quickly excelled. She had an excellent ear and would learn songs on her own from YouTube videos. She developed a newfound self-confidence.
Over the last four years, she became an avid performer at our recitals, at events in the community and played in her high school coffee houses. She graduated from high school at the top of her class and is now following in her father’s footsteps, studying to become an engineer.
Kathleen put it perfectly when she said, “Music is a universal language. Everyone can make music and it doesn’t matter where you’re from. It’s a way to connect with others and feel like you’re part of a community.”