Another talented performer with roots in Salmon Arm is coming home.
Hannah Gomme graduated from Salmon Arm Secondary in 2011 and has spent the last four years earning her degree in vocal performance from UBC Vancouver.
Her degree emphasizes classical voice, something she describes as a mixture of opera and art song, which is basically classical music written for a single piece, she explains.
The last step in fulfilling all the requirements of her degree, was to perform a graduation recital in front of an examination panel that included her choir leader and UBC music department heads.
The recital, which is worth 40 per cent of her total mark, was open to the public and attended by family and friends.
Accompanied by a pianist, Gomme’s recital included performing songs in five different languages – French, German, Italian, Latin and English.
Unlike many who face examinations with trepidation, Gomme enjoyed hers immensely.
“I loved it, I thought it was wonderful,” she says with enthusiasm. “You spend your whole year working on a one-hour repertoire of pieces, you learn them, internalize them and love them and then you get to share them with your friends and family and show them what you’ve been working so hard on.”
Students choose their own pieces but are required to share them with their professors and examiners to make sure they follow required guidelines.
“I just basically did a whole bunch of research and listened to composers I love and tried to find more obscure things along with familiar ones,” she says, noting her repertoire included a couple of excepts from Mozart’s Exalte Jubilate, also songs of Schubert’s Lieder and Bellini’s Art Song as well Fauré’s Song Cycle – Poemes d’un Jour and finally, excerpts from Ralph Vaughan Williams’ House of Life.
Gomme also performed a number that is particularly dear to her heart – a folk song by Joni Mitchell called The Circle Game.
“That was the song my grandmother and my mother sang to me when I was young, so I dedicated it to them.”
Following the recital, examiners visit with students backstage to provide comments on the recital – comments that, in her case were welcoming and heartwarming.
“I was overwhelmed with gratitude and love for my family and friends – and actually some students,” she raves of her recital and the support she was shown.
And then, like most other exams, there was a two-week wait to get her results.
Gomme’s enthusiasm stretches back to her days growing up and studying in Salmon Arm.
“I always loved music, from kindergarten on it was my favourite class,” she says, noting her training outside the classroom began with one of teacher David Izak-Dzurko’s summertime music programs.
She was eight years old and says that her parents realized she loved to sing and asked her if she wanted to take voice lessons.
So began a long and special music relationship with Armstrong’s Terry Logan.
High school musical theatre, with former SAS teacher Cathy Hay also provided impetus in Gomme’s desire to follow a musical career path, as were classes in musical composition with Brian Pratt-Johnson.
Gomme says playing tenor saxophone in the SAS jazz and concert band with Michelle Reed was also influential.
“It was nothing but positive and they are so talented themselves,” she says. “I realized I wanted to follow in their footsteps.”
Although she says Salmon Arm has a great education program, she is disappointed the choir had been disbanded by the time she got to high school.
“Salmon Arm is lucky to have so many amazing music teachers for the size,” she says. “Unfortunately, the arts in school are not getting as much funding. Those teachers could do so much more with a bit more money.”
Gomme’s talents went beyond high-school venues. She appeared in R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum’s Villains and Vittles Dinner Theatre productions for two years.
Taking a brief hiatus from educational pursuits, Gomme is in the process of auditioning for the Vancouver Chamber Choir and hoping to audition for a seat in university in 2016 to earn a masters in voice performance.
“I am taking one year off to work and perform and, if I get some awesome jobs…,” she pauses. “Whatever, whether stage or school, I will continue to perform and I will never stop taking lessons.”
Salmon Arm residents can hear Gomme perform a varied program at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 3 at United Church.
“A large portion of it would be from my recital, as well a few different surprises from when I was in high school – personal favourites from when I was younger.”
Admission to Gomme’s concert is by donation.