What's Your Story?

To celebrate 150, I arranged my own version of O Canada

Micah Weekes, only 13, ramped up an annual Canada Day tradition for 2017.

This preteen's extra notes have a special meaning.

Micah Weekes, 13, ramped up an annual Canada Day tradition for 2017. (Peggy Weekes)

Micah Weekes is only 13, but the seventh grader has already found a lifelong passion. He's gone from tinkering with the piano as a toddler to composing original music, backing tracks and all. For Canada Day 2017, he has ramped up one of his annual traditions. 

Throughout 2017, we're asking Canadians, "What's your story?" Micah of Scarborough, Ont., shares his. 

Honestly, I don't know how I got to love the piano. My mom told me that when I was younger, I didn't like a lot of noise — but somehow, I started banging on the piano around age two.

Classical music was a major part of my life growing up, since my mother always played composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart and many others for me.

Apparently, at age three, I could name my favourite composers. By age four I started taking lessons.

Now I am pursuing my dream of not only playing the piano, but also having music as a major part of my life.

My ode to Canada

Canada, formed in 1867, is now celebrating 150 years of existence. As a proud Canadian, I love my country and always made it a point to play O Canada every Canada Day.

My music school asked us to work on something Canadian, and I thought to myself, what could be more Canadian than the national anthem? I was inspired to make my own arrangement of O Canada.

The anthem allowed me to express my feelings of pride and love for my country. I hope that everyone, especially young people, will connect to my feelings of pride, love and joy. I added some extra notes at the end to reflect the way Canadians always say "hi" and add that extra "how are you?"

Playing my own arrangement makes me feel even more proud because I was able to contribute to my country's celebration.

I added some extra notes at the end to reflect the way Canadians always say 'hi' and add that extra 'how are you?'- Micah Weekes

I played my version of the anthem at an Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association competition.

My love of music

The best part of playing music is composing. One thing I love about it is that there is no such thing as a mistake. It's all about what you want and feel. Your piece expresses your emotions and your preferred style of music at that point in time.

Micah says SarahRose Black, left, was one of his "best and kindest" teachers. (Peggy Weekes)

My first set of compositions were made around age six with the help of one of my teachers, SarahRose Black, who recorded all the songs I had composed on a CD that I still have! (She was one of my best and kindest teachers.)

I'm always open to discover new styles of music on any instrument and cannot imagine my life without learning and growing in my musical journey. I love playing different styles of music on the piano.

Honestly, I can't practice only classical music for more than an hour. Some of my favourite styles are latin, jazz, blues and hip-hop (yes, I make beats too). I've created backing tracks to play with some of my compositions and other pieces I have arranged.

I also love other instruments. The upright acoustic bass and the acoustic bass guitar (yeah, there's a difference) are two of my favourite instruments other than the piano.

I also very recently started playing the acoustic guitar again, which I started learning around the age of 7. I find it is a very demanding but cool instrument, and I am hoping to use it for some of my future compositions.

Muchas gracias to my wonderful mom, Peggy Weekes, who got me to love music and even more so the piano. I simply cannot imagine life without playing music.

My hopes for the future

If I had a task to give to my generation, it would be to keep the love for music alive across the world by incorporating it more into our school curriculum.

Although we live in a great nation, I would also like to see Canada change in other ways.

If I had a task to give to my generation, it would be to keep the love for music alive across the world...- Micah Weekes

I'm sick and tired of hearing the same thing on the news every day: a young boy has been shot and killed, or a teenage girl sexually abused. I'm pretty sure we can agree on one thing: we need to make our country a safer place for everyone.

One way we can change this is by being more aware and cognizant of people with mental health issues. People with mental health issues should have easy access to the help and services they need.

If we all do our part and work together, I am sure that we can make this country even better than it is today.

Micah says he can't imagine his life without music, and hopes Canadian schools will put more emphasis on music education. (Peggy Weekes)

What's your story? What defines Canada for you? Is there a time that you were proud to be Canadian, or perhaps a time you felt disappointed? Is there a place, person, or event in your life that sums up what being Canadian is to you? Tell us at cbc.ca/ whatsyourstory.


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