John Kimura Parker
“I believe I was 21 when I performed in Debut Atlantic’s first (or close to first, I don’t remember) tour. I was mature enough to realize that this opportunity happened because Adrian Hoffman had heard me, and believed in me. It was enormous for me to have the experience of a concert tour. I was studying at The Juilliard School by that time, but had very little performing experience except for a tour as winner of the Eckhardt-Grammaté competition. (This might be where Adrian first heard me, I don’t remember.)
The tour itself was a great adventure. Dawn Harwood-Jones coordinated the tour, and I remember when we arrived in St. John’s being told “We have good news and bad news: the bad news is that we’ve only sold ten tickets to your recital. The good news is that you’re about to appear on every media outlet in town!” Dawn took me to CBC stations and to student-run stations, and we talked to the paper, and after a huge round of interviews, we rounded up a pretty good crowd.
While in St. John’s I was introduced to a fellow musician, an elderly gentleman renowned for traditional fiddling. He asked where I was from. “The west coast,” I replied. “Oh, Corner Brook!” he said. “No,” I replied, “I meant that I’m from Vancouver.” The last thing I expected was for him to say “Oh, so you’re Canadian!” This was my first inspiration to look a little further into Newfoundland history.
I met many musicians on this tour. I made friends. I gained invaluable performing experience. But most of all, I developed a sense of self-worth as a musician, having been asked to do this tour in the first place. I’m grateful to Debut Atlantic for that early opportunity. To this day I value my return trips to Atlantic Canada: I perform regularly with Symphony Nova Scotia, and I’m playing in the Tuckamore Festival this summer in St. John’s, my first return to that wonderful city in over ten years.”
– Jon Kimura Parker (July 5,2014)