The importance of music… it’s a family affair

Nena Kaczanowski (now LaMarre) was 14 when she achieved her Grade 10 piano. And she was 14 when she started teaching piano, carrying 10-12 students all through high school. She was in the first violin class in elementary school in the region. She was the first person to perform a concert on the newly built stage of Georgian College Theatre when she was a teenager.  She went on to study at University of Toronto and then came back to Barrie to teach, to perform, and to enhance musical achievement in this region.

Today she is the pianist at Central United Church; she teaches piano at least six hours a day. She accompanies performers during exams, and until recently was the pianist for King Edward Choir.

Now, Nena’s daughter, Janice LaMarre, 29, is carrying on the family’s musical genes as she breaks musical barriers in everything she touches. Janice was 2 years old when she fell in love with the violin and age 4 when she studied violin and piano. At age 10 she joined the Royal Conservatory Young Artists Performance Academy, studying with Katherine Rapoport. Today she plays viola in orchestras, as an accompanist and as a teacher. She did her undergrad and masters in viola performance at Juilliard School of Music, doctorate at The Manhattan School (both in New York City), and a full scholarship to Yale (New Haven, Connecticut) for a two year artists diploma.

Clearly this is a family with music in its genes.

Janice is one of the continent’s top musicians, and Barrie is about to benefit.

Loving music is common to every child. And what’s more logical than a summer camp for children, a camp that’s focussed completely around music?

Thus, Midsummer Sound, a unique music camp for children in the region. From July 9 to July 20 top notch performers from Juilliard are signing on to teach during the two weeks of camp and Janice’s organization skills are ensuring this will be a life-changing experience for all who participate. Mom Nena is the worker bee for registrations and organization since Janice is still in New York. Nena will also be teaching during Midsummer Sound, contributing to the musical experience for young campers. As soon as Midsummer is over, Nena heads out to teach at several Suzuki Music facilities, sharing her enthusiasm for Suzuki instruction.

Participants can register for one week or both weeks (at $340 per week) and expect to have fabulous music days culminating in performance concerts at 7 pm on each of two Friday nights. The public is welcome to attend either or both concerts, July 13 and 19. Private lessons, group appreciate for chamber music, choose-your-own-musical-adventures, composition and improvisation… it’s all part of the weeklong camp.

Initially plans were to cap the camps at 30 participants each, but more musicians have applied and Janice is responding, so they’re open to registrations without inhibition in attendance.

Location will be Central United Church on Ross St in Barrie.

Performing is in the dna of both Janice and her mom, Nena. Janice performs a few times a year in Barrie, with King Edward Choir and with Huronia Symphony.

Get ready, Barrie! The website,, brags about Midsummer camps in New York City, Long Island, NY and Barrie, Canada.

Thanks, Janice. And thanks, Nena, for a lifetime of creativity that’s benefitting all of us.