Christian Kandt looks on proudly as his daughter Charlotte practices on her recorder.
As many high school students are studying for exams and preparing for final tests, Charlotte Kandt is also preparing to travel to Quebec and compete in a Canada-wide music competition.
Kandt has been playing the recorder since she was four and a half years old. “My dad always played it and I found it really cool, and I wanted to give it a try,” she said. Now 15 years old, she is still playing the recorder, and is heading to the National Final of the Canadian Music Competition.
This isn’t Kandt’s first time attending, either. She first started competing in the countrywide music event when she was in Grade 5, and went to Nationals in Grade 6.
Music has always been a big part of Kandt’s life. Her father Christian is her teacher, and he himself plays five instruments: saxophone, clarinet, recorder, piano and guitar.
“I try to make music with everything,” he said. “If you give me bongos, I don’t know how to use them, but I just want to find out how I can make music with them.”
The Kandts moved to Winkler from Germany in 2011, and their family is very close.
“We play a lot of music,” she said. “We spend a lot of time together. There’s always music in this house.” Kandt has three siblings, two brothers and a sister.
“I just want to give the best of what I have to my children,” Christian said.
The competition starts with auditions. After the auditions, musicians that scored an average mark of at least 87 per cent among the five judges advance to the National Final.
“When she did her audition in Winnipeg, I was so proud of her,” Christian said. “She did it and I said to her, ‘It doesn’t matter what they will decide. I like it.’ I’m very proud of her.”
When Kandt sent him a text message telling him she was going through to the National Final, Christian said he started jumping.
“You can’t imagine, it’s just such a joy,” he said. “You work with your daughter and it’s hard, and then [you get] this result and it’s good to feel it. She can do what not everyone can do. She has nerves, she can play. I will not forget the feeling I had when she came from the stage.”
Now, Kandt is balancing exam prep with recorder practice, still managing to play for about half an hour a day. She is looking forward to the competition.
“It’s quite a big deal,” she said. “It’s a lot to work towards, and I’ve been working towards it for a little more than half a year. It’s challenging, but I like it.”
Musicians only have two months to prepare for the Final after their auditions are over.
“The pieces should always represent her as best they can,” Christian said. “This is the challenge I always have when I give her something. Will she make it, or will it be too hard for her?”
While she is excited, Kandt doesn’t seem fazed by the daunting event in front of her. “I’ve been performing since I was six or seven,” she said. “It’s not that nerve-wracking for me anymore. If I know I’m not all the way prepared then I sometimes get nervous, but not as much anymore.”
Christian teaches five instruments, and is always looking for more interested students. “It’s so important [as well] that the parents stand behind their children, help them,” he said. “They need their parents. Support from parents is so important.”
The Canadian Music Competition National Final will take place in Gatineau, Quebec from June 17 to 30. The competition is dedicated to up-and-coming musicians across the country. Of the approximately 550 that registered, the 241 that stood out during the national auditions will participate.
At the Final, the top scorers in each category will be awarded first, second and third place and are considered the winners of their respective categories. The scores from all participants are then pooled and the musician with the highest score in each age bracket is the Grand Prize winner in that age group.