Ericka Low

The terribly early death of violinist and music teacher Ericka Low

Although she was living and performing in Saint John, New Brunswick, many people in Halifax were affected by the terribly early death of violinist and music teacher Ericka Low, on October 22, at age 30. A Masters of Music Performance grad from the University of Ottawa, Low was a soloist for the Ottawa Symphony, Ottawa University Orchestra, Dalhousie University Orchestra and the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra. On Thursday, November 8 at 7:30pm, there will be a memorial at Saint James Anglican Church, 2668 Joseph Howe Drive.

On her website rosecousins.com, singer-songwriter Rose Cousins, playing at the infamous Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec, this weekend, gives a lovely memorial to the young musician. "I met Ericka at the ECMAs in PEI in 2006 after my showcase, when she came running after me to find out where to buy my CD. The Saint John String Quartet, of which she was a member, was nominated for an award that year. I remember when the ECMAs were over she emailed me saying how it was nice to meet me and I emailed back saying we should play together someday.

"In the spring of 2007 I was heading to Saint John to play a couple of shows at Sessions and I couldn't find Ericka's email and then magically a friend of hers emailed me and put us in touch. I went to Ericka's house the day before the show and her and I and Chris Buckley (also of the quartet) practised a couple songs all together. When we were done I told Ericka about this idea I had for a song called "One Love.' It's kind of a sad lament and I wanted her to play the most devastating notes she could find on her viola. She worked with me for an hour and a half, till we were giddy as children about what we'd put together.

"She played beautifully at two shows, May 6th and 7th, and she even stepped outside her classical training when I dragged her up on stage for a sing-a-long rendition of the traditional bluegrass tune "Pig in a Pen.' I know those who were there at those shows remember this moment well.

"I only just saw Ericka when she came to support me back at Sessions just last month. I was so excited to see her and we exchanged huge hugs and she sat right up front.

"For those of us who experienced the spirit of Ericka in our lives and the sense of pure joy felt when around her, may we keep that alive. Generous, talented, kind and a ball of fire, Ericka Low, you are missed."

Send arts news, happy and sad, to suec@thecoast.ca.

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