Penticton’s Nikita Afonso was one of 12 recipients of this year’s Fred Sherratt award, which celebrates the accomplishments of music program graduates from across Canada.
Afonso, who just completed her second and final year at Selkirk College in Nelson, was invited to a special presentation held in Toronto at Bell Media’s downtown headquarters in June.
The $2,500 award recognizes the outstanding achievement and talent of its recipients with the goal of the award to assist winners in their transition from school to career. The initiative was launched in 2008 in partnership with Bell Media and named in recognition of Sherratt, a broadcasting pioneer.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to go to Toronto for this because it is a teacher-nominated award,” said Afonso. “It’s really nice to be recognized for the work that I put in. Everybody who was at my school, they worked hard but it just felt really nice to be recognized.”
Afonso isn’t sure what she’ll do with the money but admitted it will be pretty easy to spend particularly if she bought a new guitar.
She’s planning on staying in Penticton and continuing to work and perform while saving money for the future.
She’ll also be considering where she’d like to move in order to best suit her musical style ,which she calls a combination of pop, folk and country.
“I want to make sure that I’m not going to be moving into a city where there’s not going to be a market for me,” said Afonso.
In terms of her songwriting, having the chance to spend two years studying music has been beneficial.
“I find when I write songs now that I put a lot more thought into it,” said Afonso. “But not in a way where I’m over-thinking. I just say what I feel needs to be said a lot easier, instead of, kind of getting stuck picking one topic and only writing on that.
“Now I’m finding that I’m able to write about different topics and I think that’s because going to school, I learned how to express myself I think, a little bit easier.”