For this week's #MusicianMonday, we'd like to spotlight another great SSO musician, Barbara Finch!
Mixing it up
Although Barbara has been around music her entire life, she didn't come to her primary instrument - the bassoon - until her university years. With a mother who sings and a grandfather who plays violin, Barbara was introduced to music at a young age. She began playing piano at age 6, sang in children's choirs, and played flute and saxophone in high school.
When it came time for university, Barbara was still taking private flute lessons, but opted to pursue a degree in English at the University of Victoria. Halfway through that first year, though, she decided that she did want to audition for the music program after all.
"At the same time, my flute teacher and I were facing technical challenges with my embouchure that were limiting my ability to advance," said Barbara. "It's a long story, but it ended up that my flute teacher, who played with the Vancouver Symphony, was chatting about our struggles with a bassoonist in the orchestra, and he said it sounded like I had a natural bassoon embouchure! Long story short, I went and met him, tried the bassoon, and loved it."
Like it was meant to be
It turned out that the music school at the University of Victoria was in need of some bassoonists, so when they found out Barbara was trying it, they invited her to come at the end of summer to show them how she was progressing.
"By September I was transferred out of an honours English program and starting my Bachelor of Music," said Barbara. "I never looked back!"
For some time, Barbara made a career of music, freelancing in BC then playing in the Thunder Bay Symphony. Now she works at OLG and plays on the side with both the SSO and the CanUSA quintet.
"It's a challenge to play as much as I want to, especially this last year and a half during the pandemic, when there have been no concerts to prepare for," said Barbara. "I really look forward to when we can perform together again!"
Listen to Barbara in action in this performance by the CanUSA Woodwind Quintet. It also features Rob Galbraith (flute), Cathy Wilkinson (oboe), John Wilkinson (clarinet), and Brian Carter (French horn).