CORNWALL, Ontario – They say the way to Carnegie Hall is simple – practice.
Cornwall’s Rebecca Runions, a violinist, hopes to hit all the right notes when she performs at the famed New York City venue this weekend as part of a performance celebrating the bicentennial of the State University of New York.
She, along with other chosen performers with the Crane Symphony orchestra and the Crane Chorus, will have the opportunity to work with Duain Wolfe, director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and baritone Christopher Feigum.
She lent her talents to many local fundraising events for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Cancer Society, the Rotary Club, the Cornwall Community Hospital, Cornwall Hospice, and Ontario Senior Games to name a few. Although her studies have been in the classical realm, she also plays Celtic style music and has opened for Buddy Macmaster, and played duets with Natalie Macmaster.
She performed at the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville as well as many other Celtic festivals and highland games across Ontario. She has also performed on PBS for different music celebrations. And she has even been known to spend a couple of summers singing blues and pop on the patio at East Side Mario’s.
“I believe in performing at all these different venues and in diverse styles helped me get to Carnegie. Playing at Carnegie Hall is an experience unlike any other. It is synonymous with some of the greatest names in rock, jazz, blues and classical music,” said Runions.
She received much of her training working with Dream Maker Productions when she was younger.
“I learned that there were no short cuts with this group,” Runions said. “Even when performing in a musical comedy, I knew that you had to be on, you had to be focused and prepared. It is somewhat ironic that Dream Maker has had two other alumni perform at Carnegie.”
Currently a third-year Music Education student at SUNY Potsdam, Crane School of Music, Runions will achieve her degree and teaching certification next year. In her last year she will also be in a graduate studies program for her masters degree. She also attributes her goal of becoming a music educator to the inspiration received from her high school teachers namely Alain Merizzi and Robert Poirier who encouraged her to challenge herself.
“Getting to perform at Carnegie Hall is the dream of any musician, but I know I had a lot of people who guided me and even pushed me a little,” Runions said. “What is going to make this day even more special is that my parents are flying in to see the concert.”
Founded in 1886, The Crane School of Music in Potsdam, N.Y., is home to one of the world’s oldest and largest music teacher education programs in North America.
From the age of four, Rebecca studied under the late Rosamund Laberge, who inspired her to further her violin studies. At the age of 12 she continued her studies under renowned musician John Lindsey, at the Crane School of Music.
Over the years, Rebecca has graced many stages from the Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa and Cornwall, to performing in Houston, Texas, Washington, D.C., on the Battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and at the Ottawa Exhibition.