Alameda resident McKenzie Warriner became the pride of the province on Saturday, Nov. 29, as she received The Royal Conservatory of Music's Gold Medal for scoring the top mark in Saskatchewan on the Grade 10 voice examination.
“We're incredibly proud of her achievements,” says Jeff Embleton of The Royal Conservatory in Toronto. “It is a testament to both her hard work and her talent, and winning the gold medal in her province is a real accomplishment.”
The 18-year-old vocalist wasn't in Regina to receive the honour, as she was performing at a choir concert in Winnipeg the evening of the ceremony. However, she says, “I'm really honoured. I really wish I'd been there, but they will send it to me!”
The classical singer and her Regina vocal teacher, Diana Woolrich, both received the goods news via emails from The Royal Conservatory.
The daughter of Foster and Anita Warriner of Alameda, Warriner says, “I've been singing my whole life. I started taking formal lessons when I was 13. It comes mostly from my mom's side; she played the piano at church, so she started me playing piano and singing. My sister Mariah, who's 12 and my brother Spencer, who is in his third year of accounting at the U of S, are pretty musical, too.”
Warriner is currently in her first year of a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
“I'm really enjoying it,” she says. “It's all classical styles of vocals. Everything from French Art songs to opera, and more. I'm really enjoying it, the music history and the music theory classes, too.”
For her Grade 10 conservatory exams, Warriner performed seven songs in one day. “They were in different languages,” she says. “English, French, German, Italian...as well as scales, sight reading and ear training. For my Grade 10 certification, I also had to write exams in theory and history.”
“It was a lot of repetoire with a lot of components to it. I wrote my exams this past June in Regina, when I was finishing Grade 12. I was really happy when I found out I got a mark of 91 percent.”
In addition to her studies at the University of Manitoba, Warriner is currently aiming to complete the Associate of the Royal Conservatory (ARCT) diploma for piano. “It's like a two-year certificate, but with private instruction,” she says.
“Ever since I started voice lessons, I knew this was the path for me,” says Warriner. “Music will always be a part of my life, definitely.”
Warriner will be returning to her family's Alameda-area farm for Christmas. She will be taking part in the Christmas Eve service at Alameda United Church.