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VCC music grad earns prestigious scholarship to Berklee

Posted on August 20, 2013

Dreams are coming true for 24-year-old Elise Boeur.

Boeur -- who came to VCC as a folk artist and graduated in 2011 skilled in jazz and contemporary violin – was chosen to receive the Slaight Family Scholarship to the world-class Berklee College of Music in Boston. The award goes to only one or two gifted Canadian musicians each year.

Before heading east to start her studies in September, we caught up with Elise to chat about the value of her education at VCC and this next exciting chapter in her music career.


VCC: Why did you choose to study music at VCC?

Elise: I chose VCC for the diversity of the music. I didn’t have a background in jazz when I arrived. I wanted to improve my basic musicianship and put some work into improvisation. VCC welcomed me and my folk music training and opened my ears to a lot of new things.

VCC: What did you like most about the music program?

Elise: There was a lot of familiarity. Faculty members were often available to chat and, most significantly, borrow records from. The student community was very tight and supportive and I found the fact that so many faculty members were out gigging around the city both inspiring and re-assuring. I also believe that requiring students to perform with and for their peers while studying is highly beneficial. Seeing a live concert in class twice a week was very motivating.

VCC: Why did you decide to pursue music education at Berklee?

Elise: Berklee is my dream school. They have an American Roots Music department that’s both researching and disseminating traditional music and guiding the creation of some of the most interesting contemporary folk music out there. So, I’ll have the opportunity to study theory and other music fundamentals in a world-class program and play fiddle tunes all day. It’s pretty ideal.

VCC: What happened when you found out you won the scholarship?

Elise: I only screamed a little bit when the head of scholarships phoned to inform me. But after I hung up the phone, I felt like I had 10 cups of coffee. I was out of town when I got the call, and my bandmates and I had a nice jumping-up-and-down-excitedly session. Getting the Slaight Family Scholarship was a life-changing event. I think the opportunities available to me through and after a degree at Berklee are going to be immeasurable and I wouldn’t have been able to a make it there without the scholarship. It’s an incredible gift.

VCC: What are your goals for the future?

Elise: In many ways, I plan to keep doing what I’m doing. Since graduating VCC, I’ve spent much of my time on tour with various projects and I’ve had a lot of creative freedom while enjoying myself thoroughly. After Berklee, I want to keep traveling around playing music with my friends but I want those friends to be from all over the world and I want to be making music I haven’t even conceived of yet.