Teachers. Performers. Family.
Bright lights, big city—family vacation. When their son Jack, a young violin prodigy, won a chance to perform on the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City, you couldn’t find prouder parents than Marie and Michel Forestier. They beam over him as young Jack tells the story of their arrival in the Big Apple.
“As soon as we came out of the clouds, I saw the city and it was just brilliant,” he says. “I was glued to the plane window.”
“ I never imagined I would have a student, or a child, perform in a venue like that.”
Jack’s performance in Carnegie Hall is a memorable moment for Marie too. “It was a personal highlight but also a professional one because I have been his teacher for so many years,” she says. “I never imagined I would have a student, or a child, perform in a venue like that.”
The family lives and breathes music. Michel has taught classical guitar at MacEwan University’s Conservatory of Music since 1973. Marie first picked up a violin at age two (Jack was the same age when he began playing) and has taught at the conservatory since 1995; she also plays piano. It’s no wonder their son takes after them—and perhaps his own passion for performing exceeds their own.
“He was born performing and it’s just in him,” says Marie. “As soon as he started to play his violin, he wanted to perform for everybody.”
Jack’s ambition has taken his parents to extraordinary new heights. Together they have performed on the main stage of the 2015 Edmonton Folk Music Festival (in front of an audience of 20,000 people) and appeared on Canada’s Got Talent in 2011; though they didn’t make it past the semifinals, the experience is one of many memories they’ve made in just a few short years.
“Nothing that Jack has achieved has come from us—it’s all come from him,” says Marie. “People will say, ‘You must really push your child,’ but Jack is the one who is driven. He pushes us and we support and follow where he’s going.”
“We’re a family that performs, but it’s hard to put our finger on what we do,” says Michel. “We’re all classical musicians, and we play fiddle music and hot jazz as well.”
He adds, “So far, it’s been an exciting ride.” And with Jack’s goals for his future, who knows what the next stop for this musical family might be.
Marie and Michel Forestier are faculty members in the Conservatory of Music. Find out more at MacEwan.ca/Conservatory.