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La Salle pianist gains recognition

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She’s only nine, but Lauren McIlroy of La Salle is already receiving national recognition for her talent as a pianist.


McIlroy won a 2012 gold medal from the Royal Conservatory for tying with Graham Normand and Frieda Bi for the top marks in the province on its Grade 3 piano examination.


She, along with the other Manitoba medal winners, received her medal in Winnipeg on Dec. 1, and was one of nine who participated in a recital following the medal presentation.


McIlroy began taking piano lessons when she was just three, and has studied with Winnipeg musician Kerrine Wilson for the past two years.


The young pianist said she usually practices between 30 and 45 minutes each day.


Wilson confirmed McIlroy is a hard worker, and said her young student is so motivated to improve her musical skills that she even continued her lessons during summer holidays.


"As soon as I started to teach her, I could see she’s a very talented student," said Wilson, who has taught music for 50 years.


Asked why she’s so driven to spend time at the keyboard, McIlroy said she loves performing and wants to be at her best when playing in public.


She received 92% on her Grade 3 piano exam, and while she was pleased with her high mark, it wasn’t until October that she heard the news about her award from the Royal Conservatory. Regional gold medals are awarded each academic year (Sept. 1 to Aug. 31) to Conservatory examination candidates in Preparatory A and B and Grades 1 to 10 who achieve the highest mark in their respective province or designated region.


"I think I’m going to keep playing the piano," McIlroy said.


She plans to complete the Conservatory’s entire program. Wilson said she’s already given McIlroy piano pieces to practice from the Grade 5 level.

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