Victoria Sebastian Kereluk, a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at its inception, died Aug. 18 in Victoria, B.C. She was 87.
She began playing the violin at four years old, growing up in Transcona and studying at the Bornoff School of Music in Winnipeg. In her early years, she was part of an all-girl orchestra that played on the boardwalk at Grand Beach and at the Beacon Vaudeville Theatre.
"She practised six hours a day, if you include teaching piano and violin," her sister, Val Hastings, said in a phone interview from Hazelridge.
Victoria was in her late teens when she joined the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, which formed in 1947 and played its first concert at the Civic Auditorium on Dec. 16, 1948.
She also performed with the Winnipeg Chamber Music Club and the Winnipeg CBC Orchestra.
Like fellow Winnipeg violinist Donna Grescoe, Sebastian earned scholarships to study in Chicago, and she moved to the Windy City to study there in 1950; she would eventually play with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
She married Bill Kereluk in Chicago and the couple moved to Seattle in 1954. They lived in B.C. and Alberta before eventually settling in Victoria.
She performed with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, the Calgary Civic Orchestra and the Victoria Symphony while teaching at the Craigdarroch Castle Conservatory in Victoria and the Banff School of Fine Arts.