46th annual DCMF: July 19-21, 2024!
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Dawson City Music Festival

Riley Elliot Awarded MusiCounts Amplify Scholarship

We are so proud to see Dawson City student (and Girls Rock Camp alumni!) Riley Elliot not only pursuing a career in music, but starting off with a bang in the industry! Riley is one of eleven Canadian youth nominated and awarded the MusiCounts Amplify Scholarship this year. Check out this article in the Klondike Sun – Riley discusses finding her passion for music while participating in our Yukon Girls Rock Camp program several years ago. We are so pumped and honoured to see program alumni pursuing music professionally!

(Note: YGRC has since spread it’s wings as an independent non-profit titled Rock The North. Stay tuned for future youth music programming and be sure to follow them over on Facebook!).

Dawson City Student Wins MusiCounts Scholarship

By Dan Davidson
Published in the Klondike Sun, Volume 33 No. 14
November 9, 2022

Riley Elliot, a Dawson City resident currently finishing her final high school year at F.H. Collins in Whitehorse, has been announced as one of 11 students across Canada to receive the $3,500 MusiCounts Amplify Scholarship, awarded by the Canada’s leading music education charity, MusiCounts. In a press release, Riley, who turned 17 last summer, is described as “living in a small community just south of the Arctic Circle,” more specifically known as Dawson City.

Riley says she discovered her love of music while participating in the Girls Rock Camp program that was held here for a number of years prior to the COVID pandemic. She was about 12 the first time she took part in this, and recalls performing at the Dawson City Music Festival as a drummer the first year, and on keyboards and vocals the next year. The DCMF performance was seen as the graduation exercise for the program. “After discovering her love for music production, performance, and stage tech at a girls rock camp she attended, she later returned to become a teen mentor,” the press release states. “There she quickly learned how much she enjoyed teaching and helping others with performance and writing. Riley looks forward to continuing to build her skills and hopefully pursue a career in the music industry.”

Pre-COVID there were monthly coffee house/open mic evenings on Saturdays at KIAC/Dënäkär Zho and Elliot had played at these at least a couple of times, either as a solo act or in a band with some other Robert Service School students.

Until this year she attended RSS and it was her music teacher, Kristen Poenn, who recommended her to MusiCounts for the program. Elliot had not been aware of this as an annual scholarship and is gratified that Poenn thought to tell her about it and nominate her. Her award was not announced that same year as the program was put on hold during the pandemic, but she finally heard from them a few months ago.“It will certainly make a difference in what I will be able to do in terms of getting new equipment – new guitar and microphone – and be able to do stuff at home or here at the dorm instead of having to use other people’s equipment.”

She’s not actively studying music at FHC, but she lives in a dorm setting where there is a music room with acoustic and electric guitars, drums, and keyboards. “Whenever I have time,” she said, “I go in there and just play around, working on a new song or just start writing one of my own.” In the press release, she goes on at length. “Similar to most teenage girls, my aspirations tend to change almost daily. One of the few dreams that has always had a place in my career plans is working in the music industry. “I am well aware of the fact that it is an industry that many people don’t succeed in, so I know that if I want to make my dream a reality I have to take every opportunity I am presented with and use it to learn and take steps towards a successful career.”

The MusiCounts Amplify Scholarship, was established to help amplify the aspirations of 15-18 year olds with an interest in pursuing a career path in music. Through a financial award and unique mentorship opportunities, the scholarship equips high school students with the resources and connections they need to take their passion for music to the next level. Each year, 10-12 young people receive this scholarship based on areas of music creation, music performance, and music leadership. They are awarded a $3,500 cash prize and virtual mentorship experiences with Canadian music professionals.

Eleven inspiring young people from across Canada are receiving the 2022 award. These emerging music leaders, producers, and performers represent a future of Canada’s music industry that is optimistic, vibrant, inclusive, and diverse. These scholarships will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on these young professionals through a financial award and a mentorship program intended to provide a foundational understanding of the workings of the industry. In thinking about her further education Elliot says she’s not necessarily planning to study music but wants to pursue her studies in places where there are music opportunities to perform and learn whether alone or with other people. MusiCounts is pretty loose about what the recipient can use the money for: tuition, instrument or voice lessons, or equipment.