Imagine it: The opening notes of a song ring out. A chill runs down your spine. You begin to move your body as the music swells. You feel connected, inspired. If first-year Bachelor of Music student Sophia Cuni-Hall has her way, this is how fans will feel when she performs.
Sophia sees a degree in music at Dal as a key to unlocking new skills that will help her supercharge her songwriting and propel her prowess as a performer. “I feel like there’s a piece missing,” she says of her songwriting now. “I have the words and I have the chords, but I’m looking for that connection: What do the notes mean? How do melodies combine?”
Sophia’s plans almost didn’t pan out though, as she struggled in recent years to save for university following the sudden passing of her father in 2016. She spent much of her senior year at Citadel High School in Halifax applying for scholarships with her mother’s help. When Sophia found out she was one of three inaugural recipients of Dalhousie’s new Sankofa Scholarships (designed to address systemic barriers faced by students of Black and African descent) one morning before class, she could barely contain her excitement. Leaping from her desk, she called her mom and ran around the school telling her friends and guidance counsellor.
Later that day at home, as the good news began to sink in, she broke down in tears. “I was so grateful,” she says of receiving the scholarship, worth $32,000 ($8,000 renewable annually). “This is all that I’ve ever wanted. I wanted to go to school. I love music and have for my entire life. The fact that I wouldn’t have even been able to go was terrifying, so I was really relieved and grateful to get that scholarship. (Photo: Nick Pearce)
This story appeared in the DAL Magazine Fall 2021 issue. Flip through the rest of the Fall 2021 issue using the links below.
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