Nine-year-old Erin Buxton wows the judges at a Victoria piano competition.

Exceptional young pianist wins honours

Nine-year-old natural performer excels in Victoria piano competition

When Erin Buxton was just three years old she wanted to play piano.

She says she had a little baby keyboard that she would play everyday.

It has never been anything that has been forced on her, it has been her own desire and passion. When she was seven years old she began taking structured piano classes and is now at the Grade four Royal Conservatory of Music level.

The Grade 4 Ecole Poirier student also plays ukulele and flute, sings, has taken ballet and figure skating, swims with the Coho swimming club, draws and she speaks three languages ­­ —  English, French and Mandarin Chinese. Oh, and she is an exceptional student.

In April she performed  at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival and won first place in the concert category in the festival. She was first out of 20 participants, many of them older than herself. She played three pieces and was selected to play at the Honours Concert. Erin was one of six of the juniors asked to play.

“The quality of the performances was high, said her piano teacher Kathy Russell.

“Not that I wasn’t expecting Erin to win, she competed with 20 performers who were at the Grade five level in music.”

“I was nervous when I got up but it was not so difficult, after that it was easy,” said Erin.

“She works hard every day,” said her mom Judy. “And she still has homework from me, she needs a challenge — she’s focused.”

Erin’s favourite composer is Beethoven and she wants to play Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. For the festival performance she played Lean on Me, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Memories

from the musical Cats.

Her proud teacher Kathy Russell said Erin likes performing and is a natural performer with iron nerves.

“Erin is a gifted students, also disciplined. She works which is just the perfect situation, that’s why she’s a talent.”

Erin isn’t quite sure of what she wants to do when she grows up, but she knows it could be a professional pianist or an architect.

Russell herself is an accomplished musician as well as a teacher. She’s been in Sooke for three years. She comes from rural Saskatchewan and earned her BA and Masters in Piano Performance from the University of Victoria.

“I’m enjoying being out in Sooke,” said Kathy. “The community has opened its arms, I’m very, very happy here. It’s a pretty awesome community.”

So awesome in fact that Russell is getting much of her family to move to Sooke.

Along with teaching piano, Russell plays for the Sooke Community Choir, plays the organ for St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and is an active musician.