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Rose Sanders blooms eternal

2020 DFOM graduate Rose Sanders is raising up new generations of musicians.

May 28, 2020 — 

NOTE: We in the Desautels Faculty of Music are incredibly proud of our students. While COVID-19 is sidelining in-person commencement ceremonies around the globe, we want to find alternate ways to celebrate our graduates and give them the recognition due to them. Until we can gather together to properly applaud the years of study and practice that have led to this milestone, please join us in congratulating our 2020 Desautels Faculty of Music graduates.


Today we celebrate Rose Sanders!

2020 DFOM graduate Rose Sanders has already been to Hades and back this year, so she’s well-primed to handle COVID-19. Her beautiful soprano voice and expressivity earned her the role of Venus, the goddess of love, in UM Opera Theatre’s 2020 production of a scene from Orpheus in the Underworld, Jacques Offenbach’s famous comic opera about disenchanted gods , which Sanders says was one of her favourite pieces learned during her time in the faculty. The scene, sung in French with English dialogue, featured a performance from Sanders that was certainly a delight to hear and watch!

“Rose was a feisty Venus,” says Mel Braun, says Mel Braun, voice professor and area head for voice programs, who, along with opera director Katherine Twaddle, oversees opera ensemble productions.

“She threw herself into the role with abandon, contributing a great deal to the overall comedy with her fine singing and ensemble work,” he adds.

“Rose, ever-resourceful and organized, was also a real leader in all the backstage work that went into making the Opera Scenes evening a success,” he says.

Sanders, who hails from Manitou, Manitoba, has known since high school that she wanted to pursue a career in music. In addition to her work with the UM Opera Theatre ensemble, she was also a member or performed with many of the DFOM ensembles, including the UM Women’s Chorus, University Singers, Cantata Singers, the UM Concert Band, and the Musical Theatre ensemble. Her ability to shift her voice from solo performance to blended performance is astounding, and, as with many trained vocalists, isn’t limited to English language performance.


No competition is too tough

The Zita Bernstein Lieder Competition is one of the Desautels Faculty of Music’s most sought-after and competitive vocal competitions. Named for Zita Bernstein, a lover of opera who was most fond of German Lieder, the competition offers prizes to the top student performer of German Lieder.

After placing second in the Zita Bernstein Lieder Competition in 2019, Sanders took home the grand prize in 2020, which she marks as one of her proudest moments in the faculty.

Rose is an avid performer and successful competitor. In the past year, in addition to the Zita Bernstein prizes, she won first place in the Advanced Vocal category at the 2019 Provincial Music and Arts Festival, earning her the Shirley Penner Scholarship. At the same festival, she also received the Advanced MB Composers Award in the Canadian Composers category, and 2nd place in the Advanced W.A. Mozart category, winning scholarships for both.


Music is a family affair

Music is a family affair for Sanders. The entire family is musically talented, and they perform together in the group Viva Voce, where Sanders also plays flute in addition to singing. Her mother Tracy Sanders sings and plays piano, while her siblings play the following instruments:  Greg Sanders (viola, violin, and drums); Aaron Sanders (violin); Cecilia Sanders (voice and cello); and Dominic Sanders (violin). Cousins Aidan Sanders and Jason Vanwynsberghe also perform with Viva Voce, both playing violin. The group very quickly adjusted to the world post-COVID-19, giving a virtual concert on May 15th, with Rose serving as a soloist.


Credit Recital

Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, the Desautels Faculty of Music had to cancel all of its remaining events for the 2019-2020 season. In addition to final ensemble performances, about 40 student credit recitals were cancelled, including those of graduating students, whose final credit recitals serve as a sort of capstone project showcasing what they have learned throughout their studies. Unfortunately, Sanders’ final recital was among the cancelled.

“I was going to perform an eclectic collection of works by various composers, such as Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Duparc, Hahn, Glick, and Dvorak,” she says.

“Though I enjoyed learning all the pieces and was super excited to share them, my favourites from these were my Duparc selections, a few specific ones from the Glick set – ‘7 Tableau’ from the Song of Songs –  and then my selections from the Dvorak ‘Czech Gypsy Songs,’” Sanders adds.


Next Steps

It should come as no surprise that this hardworking student has already begun her studio career, giving lessons throughout her time in the faculty. She currently gives lessons through the Rosemarie Peart Music Studio.

“My immediate plan for next year is [to continue] teaching in a music studio,” she says.

“The following year is unclear, as I do not know where I may find myself going, but my future goals include performing and studio teaching,” Sanders adds.

“Chances are I will find a way to advance my education in some format,” she says.

Given her success in the DFOM, we have no doubt that she will be successful in any advanced music program she chooses!



Rose Sanders offers the following thanks to those who supported her throughout her education:

“I would like to thank all the faculty for their attention and support to their students. If I were to list all the professors and thank them for what they have taught me, it would be a very long list. My thanks go to all! I would like to address my teacher, Tracy: thank you for your patience during my degree and your huge heart that seems to embrace all your students. I have had the biggest development in these years with you, not just vocal, but personal as well.”

Congratulations, Rose! We look forward to the day when students from your studio audition for the DFOM, because we know they will be superbly trained!

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