Inspirational Music Instructor Catherine Robertson Retires

Monday, August 31, 2020

Inspirational Music Instructor Catherine Robertson Retires

August 31, 2020

Catherine Robertson pictureThe University of Waterloo’s Music program at Conrad Grebel University College is known for instilling a collaborative mentality among its students. This non-competitive culture is cultivated by staff and professors who encourage peer support. One of the core contributors to the Music program and its welcoming atmosphere over the past two decades has been Catherine Robertson. Catherine retired from her role as Piano Studio and Piano Literature instructor after her last lesson this summer. The warmth and humour she brings to her interactions with students and co-workers will be missed.

Students, faculty, and staff have enjoyed Catherine’s presence within its halls and classrooms every term since she began in the summer of 1998. Laura Gray, Associate Professor of Music and former Music Chair, began teaching at Grebel at the same time as Catherine. “Catherine is a wonderful person to work with. She’s been part of the formation of the department and a certain ethos as well, including the sense of solidarity our students have with one another.” Laura shared how Catherine’s students appreciate her and understand that she cares for their whole person, not only the musician.

“We are going to miss Catherine immensely in the Department of Music,” added Music Chair Mark Vuorinen. “Her collaborative spirit, her ability to encourage her students to excellence, and her way of instilling a love of, and for, music to all whom she encounters is a tremendous gift.  Catherine has made a huge impact on the music department over 22 years, both as piano teacher and as a cherished colleague.  We wish Catherine well as she embarks on this new phase of life!”

Students throughout the years have admired Catherine’s musical expertise and passion. Nicholas Wong shared how he enjoyed their discussions around whatever music pieces he was working on. “I have learned to be a better pianist. Catherine has helped me to improve in every aspect of music. She inspires people.”

Anita Chen, a fourth-year Math student, has been encouraged by Catherine’s elegant and caring teaching style. “Catherine cares about her student’s health – mentally and physically. She sent me best wishes before my wisdom teeth surgery. She urged me to seek treatment for my injured hand, even at the expense of stopping my piano playing.”

As Catherine recalled her “many years teaching at Grebel,” she felt “gratitude for the rich blessing of people and experiences.” Catherine has appreciated the variety of experiences she was able to have at Grebel, such as her involvement as Chapel Choir conductor. “I enjoyed meeting additional students and staff. I was also able to more fully experience the spiritual life that is at the College’s core.” Catherine is thankful that she could teach what she is passionate about in a setting that facilitated support. “The richness of the piano repertoire is a world of endless beauty, intrigue, and delight. I am grateful to Conrad Grebel University College for the opportunity to live and share in this most rewarding world.” Catherine Robertson chapel choir

Written by Elizabeth Robertson

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