Scout House 2021 Scholarship Winner Caleb Khuu

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Caleb Khuu, the 2021 winner of the $800 Wilf Blum Youth Music scholarship, began playing musical instruments at age 5. He experimented with violin, trumpet and French horn, but now focuses on guitar, bass, harmonica, drums and piano.

Preston Scout House Band Inc. of Cambridge offers the annual youth music scholarship in memory of Band founder Wilf Blum to a graduating Waterloo Region secondary school student who intends to make music a central part of his or her life.

About to graduate from Sir John A Macdonald Secondary School in Waterloo, Caleb Khuu has already been teaching for about a year and half, developing his own curriculum for guitar playing and jazz theory. With limited formal music education, he has benefitted from many workshops offered by the region’s best-known music educators and performers. He has been performing professionally for three years in addition to performing in benefit concerts for area charities and not for profit organizations.

He plays guitar at least two hours a day, with up to four more hours dedicated to arranging, teaching, rehearsing or producing music. He offers instruction including technique, style and theory to students ranging widely in age and experience, from children as young as five to adults age 65 or more. He plans to invest in a home recording system that would allow him to work on music remotely and improve the quality of online lessons for his students. He also intends to study with a teacher to improve his understanding of harmony.

“If I can make a child smile by teaching them their favorite song or connect with someone across the world about jazz harmony it makes me feel like I have purpose in life,” he stated.

Starting in grade 5, he has maximized his participation in school music. During his first year of high school, he was the only grade 9 student to perform with the school’s senior jazz combo, while also playing with four other ensembles and planning events with the school’s music council. The following year, he played in eight ensembles and again served on the music council. In grade 10 he performed in 12 ensembles with a leadership role in many of them, even directing an ensemble comprised entirely of students his senior.

Participation in an interprovincial summer jazz camp opened his eyes to more musical opportunities, motivating him to increase his involvement with projects outside school.

He joined the Jazz FM Big Band while in grade 10, performing benefits and paid gigs across southern Ontario. Using that experience he was able to join the Royal City Big Band, the KW Big Band Theory and other large ensembles. At the same time, he formed several small ensembles and sat in with other groups to perform at events including the TD Niagara Jazz Festival, Duke of Edinburgh Gala, private functions, charity events and live stream events.

With a strong interest in science, he also excels in his academic courses. His long-range plan includes attending medical school. He intends to maintain contact with his strong network of peers in post secondary music programs to help him continue performing, writing, teaching and recording original music as he continues to perform with local groups.

Eleven Waterloo students have previously received scholarships worth a total of $9,250 since Scout House initiated the program in 2014. The 2021 review and selection panel includes Jane Maness, former principal tuba of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Chamber Ensemble who now instructs tuba at Wilfrid Laurier University and Conrad Grebel College;
Paul Mitchell, president, Central Ontario Musicians Association, Local 226 of the American Federation of Musicians; Gord Cupskey, director and music instructor for Silver Leaves Brass and Preston Scout House Band.

Preston Scout House Band, Inc. is a non-profit corporation with registered charity status able to issue tax receipts to donors, incorporated under the Corporations Act of the Province of Ontario on November 29, 1956. The multi-unit organization offers individuals the opportunity to “Arrange the soundtrack of your life” in marching arts activities starting at age 8 and continuing throughout life.

The five member groups are: Scout House Band, Scout House Cadets drum and bugle corps, Silver Leaves Brass ensemble, Magic of Scout House competitive winter guard and the Heritage Drill Team. All activities are currently suspended because of COVID 19 pandemic restrictions on group activities.

For more information about Preston Scout House Band Inc. activities, contact telephone (519) 653-3376, email PSHB [dot] INC [at] outlook [dot] com or visit the website at:

Posted by on Tuesday, June 15th, 2021. Filed under Current News, DCA News, FrontPage Feature.