Sackville soprano Helen Pridmore has earned another milestone in her musical career – her first East Coast Music Association award.
Pridmore, a music professor at Mount Allison University, received the ECMA award this weekend under the best Classical Recording category for the album Between the Shore and the Ships, a CD she collaborated on with former Mount A professor Wesley Ferreira.
“I am thrilled to have been part of the winning team for this award,” said Pridmore on Monday from Toronto, where she was finishing up a series of performances.
Pridmore and Ferreira’s album was based on a special project the two were a part of to represent the historic impact of the Acadian Deportation. Eight works were specially commissioned by Maritime composers for vocalist Pridmore and clarinetist Ferreira – with a concert performed earlier last year at Grand-Pré National Historic site.
After the performance, the two decided they wanted to do even more with the commissioned pieces – so they recorded them. The album was released last summer.
Pridmore and Ferreira were also up against some of their other fellow Mount A professors in the same ECMA category. David Rogosin and Lynn Johnson were both nominated for their classical recordings – Evocation and Dialogue.
Pridmore said although she wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony on Sunday in Halifax, she was delighted when she learned she had taken top prize.
“I was certainly surprised to win, given the strong competition. But it is indeed a thrill.”
Pridmore said she’s particularly proud that this album features music by Atlantic composers. In fact, the title track on the CD, composed by Derek Charke, who teaches at Acadia University, also earned an ECMA award –for best classical composition.
This is the first year the ECMAs have featured a classical composition category so that’s an important milestone, said Pridmore.
“It's very appropriate that the ECMAs now include classical music,” she said. “It has an important place in the musical life of the East Coast, just as pop and country music does too.”
Also taking home an ECMA award was Saxophonist Joel Miller, a former native of Sackville, who won the Jazz Recording of the Year award for his album Swim.