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Young performer says Corner Brook-based Wintertide gives everyone access to classical music

Gina Spencer, 16, played a piece by Robert Schumann during the Wintertide Music Festival children’s concert at the arts and culture centre in Corner Brook on Saturday.
Gina Spencer, 16, played a piece by Robert Schumann during the Wintertide Music Festival children’s concert at the arts and culture centre in Corner Brook on Saturday. - Diane Crocker

Classical music is probably not the first type of music one would expect a 16-year-old to say is her favourite.

But it is for Gina Spencer.

The Level 2 student at Corner Brook Regional High spent part of last week performing with the Wintertide Music Festival.

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It’s her fourth year with the festival and, on Saturday, she took part in the free children’s concert at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre.

Violinist Nancy Dahn, left, pianist Simon Callaghan, cellist Heather Tuach and violist Kate Read, joined together on Saturday to perform at the Wintertide Music Festival’s children’s concert at the arts and culture centre in Corner Brook.
Violinist Nancy Dahn, left, pianist Simon Callaghan, cellist Heather Tuach and violist Kate Read, joined together on Saturday to perform at the Wintertide Music Festival’s children’s concert at the arts and culture centre in Corner Brook.

Spencer said she’s been exposed to classical music since she was a “little, little kid.”

It’s something she’s been playing for a long time and has studied for Royal Conservatory of Music exams.

“Once you get more connected to the music you understand how special it is,” she said before taking to the piano to play “Intermezzo” by Robert Schumann.

“It’s just really timeless. Honestly, it’s just as amazing now as it was hundreds of years ago.”
That’s why she feels that Wintertide is so important in Corner Brook now.

“It’s not popular, not very many people play it or listen to it. And I think it’s more so because we don’t have the access to as much live classical music.”

With Wintertide being exclusively classical, she said it’s super special to have in the city.

“So, everyone has access to it.”

The group was small when Spencer played and soon grew to about 25 people of all ages.

But it’s the younger ones that Spencer said the concert was all about reaching.

“So, starting them off young. It’s amazing because they won’t be exposed to it otherwise. It’s really bringing it to them in the best way.”

To be a performer with the festival is a super big deal for the Massey Drive teen.

“I feel so honoured and blessed to be able to be playing with these literally world class musicians.”

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