Erika Bennedik with one of this year's younger quartets.

Violin recital marks studio’s 30th anniversary

Ocean Park teacher Erika Bennedik still retains ties with many of her alumni, while continuing to inspire new generations of students

It starts – and ends – with music.

But the journey is inevitably about so much more, according to Ocean Park violin teacher Erika Bennedik.

For the former Vancouver Opera Orchestra member, this year’s student recital is her 30th.

The event, June 13 at 3 p.m. at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 2350 148 St., is sure to bring back a host of memories – both for Bennedik and for those who have encountered her as students, parents and grandparents.

Bennedik gets to know many of her students at age four or five. One is at the other end of the scale, still gleaning benefit from learning at age 97.

Some have an natural flair, which can result in a continuation of studies through the post-secondary years. Some simply end up with a better enjoyment of music.

I probably have hundreds of ex-students from this studio,” she told Peace Arch News. “Some were here for all their school years, and we became good friends.”

Years later, she said, she’ll encounter many at stores around town. She’ll discover those who she first encountered as toddlers have families of their own – some even bringing her new students.

For all, learning a discipline through music has been a key step in growing as a well-rounded member of the community.

“That’s the most important part,” she acknowledged. “They learn a slice of life. But I’m so glad I can teach them, get them to play and enjoy music..”

But Bennedik knows that studying technique alone can be deadly – which is why she takes pains to match students in quartets while preparing the annual recital.

“I always wonder why so many people play piano,” she said. “When I was growing up, orchestra weekends and camps were where I met everybody – I was having fun!”:

In addition to soloists and quartet ensembles at the recital, Bennedik will welcome guest musicians – and former students – Allene Chomyn and Jared Gill.

“Allene is coming all the way from Ontario,” Bennedik said. “She works with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, but she’s also been taking a lot of courses with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.”

Gill was a longtime student too, she said.

“He’s been doing part-time violin teaching recently. He got married a few years ago and I was a guest of honour at the wedding.”

Another former student, Ruth Francis-Lyster, now studying at Capilano College, would have been at the recital, but has another gig.

“She’s concert master for senior amateur orchestra that is actually playing at Carnegie Hall that weekend,” Bennedik explained, with a chuckle.

For information, call 604-538-5057.


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