U of T alum honours late father with a fellowship for percussion students
Beverley Johnston (BMus 1980) recently made a donation to the Faculty of Music to create the Gerald Harlan Johnston Fellowship, named for her late father. The fellowship is the first at U of T to support a Doctor of Musical Arts student in the faculty’s percussion program, where Johnston herself teaches.
Beverley: My father helped me financially while I was at university. The fellowship is a way of acknowledging all that he did for me. He was a chemist. He established a company in Quebec that did environmental testing. He was a good business person and worked very hard. I admired him.
There were no professional musicians in our family, but my parents appreciated music. They were concerned about me pursuing it at university, though, because it can be an unstable career. I must have inherited their focus and determination. I was also fortunate to have studied with Nexus percussionist Russell Hartenberger, who just retired from U of T. He was like a second father to me.
My hope is that the fellowship will ease a student’s financial tension. It’s difficult to focus on your studies when you have to have a job to make ends meet.
Watch: Beverley Johnston performing “Romelni Kerubinta,” a Georgian hymn she arranged, at the 2010 Shenyang International Percussion Festival