St. George – Celine Nam has been playing the piano since she was seven years old, but it was her abilities on the flute which earned her accolades at the New Brunswick Competitive Festival of Music, in Saint John.
The 17-year-old Grade 11 student at Fundy Middle and High School, who took part in Saturday‘s Founder’s Night Concert, was named Junior Star 2017, and Outstanding Junior Instrumentalist. She was also presented with the Judy McInnis Memorial Plaque, and the April Mills Junior Concert Plaque plus took home a $500 cash award.
Born in South Korea, Celine moved to Canada when she was nine years old, and her family lived in Rothesay, before moving to St. George when she was in Grade 9, where her parents own the Birch Grove Restaurant.
She admits her mother “kind of forced” her to learn piano, and she taught herself to play the flute, after trying her hand at various other instruments.
“I tried a lot of instruments. I like to drum, but couldn’t really get a drum set in our house. I tried the violin, and that was awful. I tried the clarinet, the trumpet, and the saxophone, but I could only do scales. After all the tries, the flute was the best.”
She joined the band while she was in middle school in Rothesay, and two years ago, started taking flute lessons from Sandra Britten, in Saint John. She continues to take piano lessons in Saint John, with Irina Roy.
For a couple of years, she tried her hand at piano in the music festival, but this year she concentrated on the flute, and it bore dividends for her.
“Last year, I went for junior flute, but I didn’t get to play in the gala concert. You have to get 90 and above to be in the concert.”
Celine recently joined the St. Mary’s Band, which she said she loves, and is looking forward to playing with them during the summer, as they perform all over the province. They are regulars at a number of local parades. She is also auditioning for the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, later this year.
She will graduate from Fundy next June, and is thinking about taking music therapy at Acadia, Dalhousie, or Wilfred Laurier universities.
She said she enjoys playing modern rather than “old” music on her flute, noting that she played a Handel piece in the festival, and didn’t get a really good mark.
“I like to play really modern stuff. I find it easier. I like to compose for the piano, and sometimes I record what I compose on the piano, and play along on the flute.”
As for what she listens to, Celine said she enjoys pop music, and likes Rihanna.