I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that being a member of Cantiamo was the defining experience of my youth. Our marathon-like Saturday rehearsals, trips to Newfoundland for Festival 500, and of course our concerted attempts not to light our binders on fire at the Advent service are the first things that come to mind when I think of my adolescence. I would also like to shout out Cold 911 tea from David’s Tea for keeping me alive for those 4 great years of singing.
The choir experience was critical in preparing me to become an adult. Not only did I learn what it means to work collaboratively, and hold my own as an equal member of a team. I also learned about accountability, and taking responsibility when I let the group down. Perhaps most importantly, being a member of Cantiamo really opened my eyes to the global community of music. Throughout my time, we sang in over 15 languages. In learning these pieces, we were able to engage with different cultures in the most fundamental way- through music. In fact, I still remember all of the words to the Finnish national anthem. You heard it here first: a girls choir in Ottawa, Ontario taught me how to recognize my role as a global citizen better than any news story or Civics class in high school.
Music will always play a pivotal part in my life. I’m sure my neighbours file complaints about my constant singing. I can’t help it- once a Cantiamo girl, always a Cantiamo girl.
After leaving Cantiamo, Emma received a degree in Political Science from McGill University, and is currently studying Law at the University of Cambridge, London.