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Jun. 18, 2021 | Friday
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Queenston teen cellist is a rising star
Anika Grieve with her friend Sarah Cupit perform a physically distanced backyard concert. (Supplied)

Anika Grieve is a performer with Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra


There are a lot of house renovations going on in Queenston. Anika Grieve and her parents, Alistair Grieve and Cathy Merkley, are living through one of them.

So, during the pandemic, walkers in the village have seen Anika helping out by lugging wheelbarrows full of stones from one location to another. This, however, is not her primary interest.

Anika is a cellist and, at age 16, she’s making a name for herself in the classical music world.

In fact, those Queenston strollers, on occasions when stones aren’t being moved, can hear the music of composers such as Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and Respighi coming from her home.

It’s fun to stop and listen. If you speak up above the village hubbub, you can ask for a repeat performance of certain passages. (The local robin population has also been known to join in.)

Anika has been playing the cello since she was four. Earlier in her career she played with Toronto's Mooredale Youth Orchestra, which provides opportunities for musicians as young as six. Since 2019, Anika has played with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Anika says she enjoys score study, the lecture programs geared toward young players and the master classes offered by senior musicians.

2020 was a big year for Anika as she became a founding member of the Sound Post String Quartet, which won the platinum medal at the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival that year.

She also founded “Quarantunes,” a music program for the residents of her grandfather’s home, Toronto's Christie Gardens Retirement Community, and she has performed for seniors living at other residences via Zoom.

Anika is in Grade 11 at Northern Secondary School in Toronto and when school resumes next year, she will be president of the Intersectional Feminist Club. She is also interested in the law. Inspired by the mock trial program she was involved with this year, she and some of her friends have started a law society.

These activities, of course, don’t fill up all her time. Anika bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie, which she has been known to leave at neighbours’ doors, and she is competitive swimmer. After Grade 12, she plans to go to university with a double major in English and music.

She comes from a musical family and speaks of performing duets with her father as she was growing up. She has been known to amuse herself, and confuse him, by changing the part she is playing in the middle of the piece.

Alistair and Cathy own and run The Sound Post in Toronto and Ottawa. The business provides services to the stringed instrument community and the staff in both locations help potential musicians find out what instrument suits them best, and try to fit them with an instrument. They also appraise instruments, as well as deal with trade-ins, consignments and rentals.

Stringed instrument labs are also a part of the offering. As their home in Queenston nears completion, the family has decided to make space available for musicians to stay and work on their projects.

Anika isn’t the only musician in Queenston. Another neighbour, Tony Dekker, is talking about putting together a concert with his band Great Lake Swimmers for locals when the pandemic is over, as is Anika.

When the world was a different place, Queenstonians enjoyed listening to the outdoor concerts from Art Park in Lewiston New York. Residents are now in a position to look forward to their own live music scene.