by Andrea Ledwell
Cheryl Landry has a lot to think about these days. As a graduating clarinet major in the UPEI music department she is preparing for her senior recital. This is a prestigious opportunity the department offers to its best students in their junior and senior years.
Cheryl is also getting prepared to continue studies in music and exploring the options available to her following graduation in the spring.
She and Dawn Parmiter, a senior soprano, will both be having recitals this march as well as juniors Kelley Carpenter and Jolene Robbins.
Options for these young women have certainly increased in the last hundred years or so. All four women are in the lucky position of being able to explore a variety of career options in the field of music-both in education and performance.
"UPEI's music program is certainly more focussed on music education," says Landry who started the program thinking that she would become an instrumental teacher. Given the number of performance opportunities at UPEI, Landry discovered that she was interested in that aspect of music too. "I am certainly thinking about pursuing studies in education next year, but I am also applying for performance programs, " As a clarinetist, Landry sees possibilities for orchestral and chamber work in the future.
It was not that long ago that career options were limited for women in music. While music may have always been readily encouraged as a suitable endeavour for women, viable career choices included being an at-home instructor or perhaps an elementary school music teacher or choir director.
Being a professional musician, for women, was not encouraged or else the opportunities for women to perform were restricted to the prodigious singers, piaanists and players of delicate instruments.
Orchestral performance was such a male-oriented profession that women eventually created their own opportunities for performance through the creation of women's orchestras. And there is the infamous Vienna orchestra which has held out, at the criticism of everyone else on earth, and does not let women play with the group as it believes that they would be too much of a distraction for the men.
But Cheryl Landry feels that there is a fairly even playing ground for women in music-at least in North America. With screened preliminary orchestral auditions, increased numbers of high profile female composers, conductors and teachers, her main consideration is that her playing ability be at a performance level. And that is how it should be.
Cheryl Landry's senior recital will be held Saturday, March 11. A senior recital, featuring soprano Dawn Parmiter will be held Saturday, March 18. A junior recital featuring Kelley Carpenter, saxophone, will be held Thursday, March 9. Junior pianist, Jolene Robbins will be performing Thursday, March 23.
All recitals will be held at the UPEI Dr. Steel Recital Hall at 8 pm. Admission is free.