Andrew Richard wasn’t expecting the call to tell him he had received a big scholarship.
The Grade 12 Hapnot Collegiate student had already applied and been accepted to Capilano University in Vancouver, but was told he was out of the running for their premier entrance scholarship.
“I was a runner up, and if for some reason someone received the award and didn’t meet the credentials, or ended up not going to Capilano University, they would look over my application again,” he said. “About a week after I got that letter, I got a phone call saying, ‘We looked over your application, and you got the award.’”
Richard is heading to Capilano because it is one of the few schools in Canada offering a music therapy program. Capilano awards 10 entrance scholarships every year - the scholarship Richard received is renewable for three more years
“I wasn’t totally expecting to get it, it was more so just a ‘Hey, I’m gonna try.’ Try and see what happens and hope for the best,” he said.
The entrance scholarship was awarded not only because of Richard’s musical and scholastic accomplishments, but his work in the community. He was sure to thank Hapnot band director Kim Jones and Murray Gordon from Flin Flon Pride for writing reference letters to help secure the scholarship.
“The process to actually apply was kind of heavy,” Richard said.
“It involved an essay worksheet, totaling hours among community service and stuff like that. So, my work with Flin Flon Pride over the past three years, as well as the stuff I’ve done for the band program, like going over to McIsaac as a high schooler and helping the younger bands, helping run band camp every year, helping clean instruments every year, my work with the GSA at Hapnot that I did for three years, that is a really big part of it.”
Richard said he always knew he wanted to pursue music for his post-secondary studies, but wasn’t sure what that would look like.
“I’ve always loved [music]. And my parents were kind of finicky with me doing performance. I get that, because I get where they’re coming from,” he said.
Richard thought he was going to go into music education, but he didn’t want to be in schools for the rest of his life. When checking out local schools, he said he found a music therapy program at Canadian Mennonite University and began looking at programs across Canada.
“I did my research,” he said. “I just fell in love with the idea of it and kind of looked into what universities can offer the course and applied at my favorite two and got into my first choice,”
Richard had experience auditioning before – he had made provincial honour bands twice – but said that nothing he had done previously compared to the audition process for Capilano. Richard said he had to change his practice habits to rehearse effectively and not wear out his embouchure by overplaying his trumpet.
“I really had to learn that like you can practice in other ways,” he said.
While trumpet is Richard’s first passion, he said he’ll need to change primary instruments for the music therapy program, as guitar and piano are the instruments most used in music therapy.
Richard added that he has many great memories from Hapnot’s band program and Flin Flon.
“It doesn’t matter how big the band program is, how exclusive the school would have been, I would not have transferred anywhere,” he said.
“We’re small, but we’re mighty. And I think Mrs. Jones was a big, big reason for that. She puts in so much time and so much effort into that band program. And she really makes it as good as she can. It’s an amazing program.”
Richard will be moving to North Vancouver in late August and is looking forward to participating in Flin Flon Pride this August before moving.