When Daniel Parker first picked up the cello, he saw it as a way to balance out his mother’s higher-pitched violin. Now, when he picks up the cello, he sees his future.


On Tuesday, at the National Arts Centre, the Grade 12 student launched the 65th Kiwanis Music Festival, which takes place from April 6 to May 1, with his own stunning rendition of Bach.


The young cellist has been competing in the festival for over 10 years, previously winning top honours in the junior, senior and open categories.


Parker, who is actively pursuing a career in music, recognizes the doors that have been opened by his success at the Kiwanis festival.


“Certainly they do help get me a lot of gigs. Through the gigs, I meet a lot of influential people in the music community,” he said. “(The Kiwanis Club) has been with me a long time.”

Festival president Jim Brough used the launch to highlight the importance of fostering an environment where young musicians have the opportunity to both display their talents, and learn from their peers.

“A world of possibilities and promise is opened up through music,” he said. “This is an opportunity for talented kids to learn from professionals.”

Daniel’s father said he could not agree more.

“The festival is a great sharing of music,” said Bill Parker. “It is a beautiful thing, for kids to get together and play music. Otherwise, music can be a very lonely thing.”

Organizers expect more than 10,000 competitors from all over Ontario to compete for more than $50,000 in scholarship prizes.