The musical abilities of three Red Deer sisters were on full display at a recent national competition.
Sixteen-year-old Kathryn, 14-year-old Sofia and eight-year-old Clare Fakeley all participated in the annual Canadian Music Competition (CMC) earlier this month.
The Fakeley sisters, who all play the cello, finished in a top-three position within their age category for strings, which includes those who play the cello, violin and viola. Kathryn and Sofia finished first, while Clare finished third.
“They definitely had months of preparation they put into the competition,” their mother Jennifer Fakeley said Friday.
“I’m very proud of them, (for displaying) the focus, concentration and discipline it requires to spend six months learning. All of their repertoire has to be memorized. It’s not just something that requires a lot of physical work, but it also requires a lot of mental preparation.”
This competition wasn’t just about individual preparation, it was also about ensemble work, Jennifer noted.
“For this particular competition, they had to play with a pianist – a collaborative accompanist,” she said.
“This requires a high degree of unity, which is difficult if there aren’t weekly rehearsals together. Their accompanist lives in Calgary, so it required a few weeks before the competition to travel there and working together with the pianist.”
The fourth Fakeley sister, 12-year-old Emily, who plays violin, was not in the competition.
Nearly 300 musicians, aged seven to 25, were connected from coast to coast to participate in the CMC. The Fakeley sisters performed for three live judges in Calgary – the program was filmed and sent to two more national judges as well.
The three sisters were “elated” to perform, their mother said.
“We celebrated by each choosing a big bucket of our favourite ice cream. It was such a great feeling for them to get to that level and to be able to present a program,” she said, adding her daughters performed at the CMC while wearing masks, which is an additional challenge.
“There was a lot of protocol in place to keep everyone safe. As a musician, when you’re working really hard and breathing heavy, it’s hard to have a mask on your face and perform that way. I’m especially proud of their ability to perform under the conditions and to be able to stay focused. To make it to that level is a pretty neat thing.”
The past year and a half has been difficult for all musicians, Jennifer added.
“I want to commend all musicians during the pandemic, who were able to hang on and keep persevering with their playing and finding creative ways of continuing their art,” she said.
“It’s been a difficult time for everyone of course, but … musicians in particular have missed out on being able to share their art with others. Of course audiences have missed out on being able to enjoy and find all kinds of opportunities for rest, relaxation and pleasure because they’ve been kind of cut off.”