Mount Allison history student Thomas Littlewood has spent the past year bringing the gift of music to students at Salem Elementary in Sackville, N.B.
SACKVILLE, N.B. — Mount Allison University student Thomas Littlewood has combined the best of both worlds in his academic and extracurricular line-up.
As he graduates with his honours degree in history, minor in French this spring, the Quispamsis, N.B. resident has spent the past year sharing the gift of music with local elementary school students through a unique program.
Littlewood is a longtime member of the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, has played viola with the orchestra for the past five years. His love of music grew into a hobby he has shared with the larger Sackville community through the In Harmony program, teaching violin to Grade 4 students.
In partnership with the NBYO and elementary music teacher Lisa Steeves, In Harmony sees Littlewood at Salem School for 8 a.m. music classes with 24 students twice a week since September.
“It’s been a great, and unexpected experience. I didn’t see myself teaching and I don’t plan on becoming a teacher but I’ve really enjoyed working with the students,” he says. “They are planning a district concert in May.”
Littlewood has also volunteered with many musical endeavours at Mount Allison including playing in the Chamber Orchestra and singing in the Elliott Choral.
“That was one of the things that initially attracted me to Mount Allison, that I could continue to pursue music as a hobby, in addition to my studies. Being involved in these groups my first three years and then In Harmony this year has been wonderful,” he says.
Steeves says, “It has been a pleasure to work with Thomas this year as a part of the In Harmony pilot project at Salem Elementary School. His experience as a string player and NBYO member, as well as his desire to help the children develop the necessary skills for learning to play an instrument, have been invaluable to me and to the children in this program.”
Littlewood has also pursued an ambitious academic path, in addition to his musical and community endeavours while at Mount Allison.
Littlewood is looking into academic or museum work as possible careers, and working to get first-hand experience in the field. He spent the past summer in France, working at the Vimy Ridge historic site and will return again this summer before starting his master’s in history at the University of New Brunswick this fall.
“I’ll be studying the commemoration of World War One for my master’s so my work at Vimy actually ties in very well. In a perfect world I’d like to work at Vimy Ridge in a professional position,” says Littlewood. “My experience there, and at Mount Allison, has been wonderful and it’s really helped me select an area I’m interested in studying and working in. These, along with my musical experience, have prepared me well for the next step.”