His love of music began in early childhood, so it’s no surprise that for Kent Sutherland (’98 BMus/BEd), life is all about music—both performing and teaching others to embrace the music arts.
“I’m really passionate about music. It’s always been important to me, a big part of my life,” says Sutherland. “I first became involved in music at age four when I inherited an electric organ from an uncle and my parents enrolled me in music lessons. I haven’t looked back since.”
Sutherland received both a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Education from the U of A in 1998 through the Combined Degree program . The five year program allows undergraduates to receive an education degree and a second degree from the Faculty of Arts or other faculties.
Since graduating, Sutherland’s rich career has drawn from both degrees. He was a substitute teacher for three years with Edmonton Public Schools and Sturgeon School Division, and has also worked for Edmonton Opera, the JAZZ CITY International Music Festival, and Walterdale Theatre. He recently left Walterdale, where he had been administrator for the past seven years, to focus on his company, Sutherland Productions, which provides marketing, public relations and event management services for artistic groups.
“I love performing in musical theatre and so have also done a couple productions with Walterdale Theatre and with theatre company Two ONE-WAY Tickets to Broadway. In the upcoming season I will sing with the Edmonton Opera Chorus in Madama Butterfly,” he says. “All of my performing is done for the love of it. I love really getting into the music or role I’m performing, discovering what is there beyond the page and sharing it with the audience.”
“I’ve always enjoyed sharing my knowledge with others and although I’m no longer a teacher in the classroom sense, I find myself sharing my knowledge and teaching others, whether through clinics, mentoring or other means.”
Over the years Sutherland has volunteered his expertise with numerous arts organizations and events, including the JUNO Awards (twice as a judge); the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards (as a jury member); and the New Edmonton Wind Sinfonia. At the 2001 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships he was stage coordinator for the opening ceremonies’ mass choir, in addition to other roles. He has sat on volunteer boards for the Edmonton Arts Council, the Salute to Excellence Committee, and Greenwood Singers, who he has sung with the past 18 years. “I believe in giving back to the community,” he says humbly.
He says his degrees have been invaluable. “I learned discipline, flexibility, and different ways of dealing with people. My experiences at the U of A provided a rich network of colleagues and friends that have opened up opportunities I wouldn’t have ever thought of. I often sit and reflect on the number and variety of people I’ve met since graduation through the work, performance and volunteer opportunities I’ve experienced, and I can only say, ‘wow!’”
To read another story about a music alumnus living a life of music, please visit BEdition at http://beditionmagazine.com/for-the-love-of-teaching-music-2/