Chilliwack music graduate speaks out about KPU cuts

Sterkenburg: Thankful for voices across our continent who have cried out in shock at this news

Overwhelming accomplishment. Utmost devastation.

Friends, I couldn’t make it through full arpeggios and scales at my audition in 2015. Today I have won two awards at a provincial level. I have been named the “most outstanding performer” at my local festival. I run a thriving music studio and have a lovely group of students. I have been personally invited by the wonderful Meg Masaki to attend the prestigious Casalmaggoire International Music Festival in Italy this summer.

Four years.

Four years. That’s all it took.

For reasons I cannot understand, people believed in me. Jane had seen something and invested in it by inviting me to study with her. Alejandro challenged me and didn’t give up on me. Gail found my voice and pushed me to inspire my community. Jodi showed me the beauty in creativity and imperfection.

My community believed in me. My community believed in KPU’s music program. And they gave. Friends, I am just overwhelmed by the thousands and thousands of dollars that organizations and individuals have given to me so that I could be immersed and inspired by this wonderful thing called music. They gave so that I can give. Give to my audience. Give to my community. Give to my students.

And now, this week. Devastation.

Those in power at KPU have said by their actions this week they do not believe in this program. They do not believe in their faculty. They do not believe in their students.

They have shown, that they are not willing to make financial sacrifices to give students like me a chance in music. In fact, they are willing to make poor financial and administrative choices and then let one of KPU’s most valuable and well-respected programs take the cut.

There is no other program on which almost every single graduate flaunts KPU in their bio at every single public appearance and on every single one of their websites.

They don’t believe in us.

This week KPU announced that they would be suspending intake into the music program indefinitely. In addition, 40% of the music program will be cut.

How can you help? Follow the Kwantlen Music Students’ Association for information on their letter writing campaign and petitions. Stay posted with the latest news. #kpumusicmakenoise

I am so thankful for my colleagues who have worked tirelessly the past week in action against these cuts. I am thankful for voices literally across our continent who have cried out in shock at this news. People who don’t know us but for the sake of music education are making noise. Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to you who have believed and supported me. I am so thankful. So humbled.

Samantha Sterkenburg

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