JOanne Cowan

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra member profiles

SPO assistant concert manager JOanne Cowan is profiled

Music has been a central element in Joanne Cowan’s family.

Born in Montreal, she was raised surrounded by chamber music played by her grandmother, a cellist, and her mother, a pianist. Now the generational tradition continues as Joanne with her violin plays for her grandson Dane, watching how his enthusiasm to listen often soothes him to sleep.

Joanne is accomplished in several instruments ranging from strings to percussion, in addition to enjoying guitar and playing the flute.

Her musical training earned her degrees in performance and music at Mount Allison University, University of Montreal, and Simon Fraser University, as well as an education degree. With these credits, she has taught both violin and grade school in Atlantic Canada in St. John’s Newfoundland as well as on the West Coast in various locations such as Cobble Hill, Duncan, Shawnigan Lake and Sooke. Eighteen years ago she decided to make the Glen Lake area her home, where she opened a bed and breakfast business.

The draw to this area, and specifically to the Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra was from meeting and then playing in a string quartet guided by Norman Nelson, who was a professor at Simon Fraser University. When Norman indicated he was retiring to Sooke, Joanne and other musicians convinced, urged and prodded Norman to begin a local orchestra in this small community.

As one of the founding members of the orchestra, Joanne is proud of its accomplishments in the 16 years since it began. Joanne currently is the assistant concert master. She credits Norman,  Maestro of the orchestra, for his steady and knowledgable guidance and support of each musician.

For Joanne, her family and her music are in harmony, giving her much joy.

Joanne will be joining other musicians in the upcoming two concerts November 29 and 30, in Sooke and Metchosin respectively.