There’s nobody more qualified to take on the role of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra’s general manager than someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes music while also knowing a thing or two about their Peterborough audience. By that logic, Christie Goodwin is a harmonious fit in her new position.
In the 12 years since she lived in Peterborough, the oboist has added to her long list of professional accomplishments, having been a core member of Symphony New Brunswick, an oboe professor at two east coast universities, the director of Moncton’s School of Atlantic Ballet, and the founding manager of a dynamic woodwind quintet.
Combined with her recent completion of a master’s degree in arts management and leadership, Goodwin is eager to be bringing her vast knowledge, experience and passion back to Peterborough soil.
“I’ve always been an organizer so I began to feel like I can create so many opportunities for other people and for the community in the management role,” she says, noting how especially eager she is to be doing so back in Peterborough. “It’s great to be back — it’s like we never left sometimes.”
A “generational” musician, Goodwin had music in her life before she was even born. Her grandfather and father were both trombonists and her parents met while at a music camp that Goodwin, herself, later attended as a teenager. Growing up just outside of Edmonton, music was ingrained in her upbringing.
“I grew up singing probably before I spoke,” she jokes. “My father never wanted me to become a professional musician because he knew that it’s a hard road, but there was no stopping it. I was just so involved, playing the piano and singing all the time.”
Her father handed her an oboe when she was in fourth grade to “keep her busy” when she was already playing piano and reading music ahead of her bandmates in the class her father taught. Years later, when she joined the Edmonton Youth Orchestra, she experienced the moment she knew she was “lost for good” in professional music.
“I went to rehearsal and since oboes sit in the middle of the orchestra, all the musicians were all around me,” she says. “That sound — that cello section and the brass from behind — I get goosebumps just thinking about it. That’s how important that moment was for me.”
With such passion and determination to have a professional career in music despite the odds (she guesses that one in 10 people who graduate with a music degree actually become professional performers), Goodwin pursued a bachelor of music in oboe performance at the University of British Columbia on full scholarship.
“They say you should only go into the arts if you literally feel you might die if you don’t and that’s how compelled I was, and still am, to be engaged with it,” Goodwin says.
Though she began her post-graduate studies in Vancouver, once she got accepted to learn from and study with mentors at the National Academy Orchestra in Hamilton, she knew that Ontario was “where it’s at” for musicians. She can even tell you the exact temperature of the very date she moved to Hamilton.
It was during this time as a new professional in her early twenties that she first met Michael Newnham, music director and conductor of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra. At the time, he needed an oboist to fill in with the Niagara Symphony Youth Orchestra and called on her.
“I just feel so blessed because when you’re a musician starting out, you don’t say no to anything, and I didn’t,” Goodwin recalls. “So it led me down all these paths and here, 20 or 22 years later, I’m still friends with Michael and here we are working together. That’s pretty great.”
While working in retail and with the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, and sitting as principal oboe in the Niagara Symphony, she received an artist’s diploma in orchestral performance from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music Toronto. It was then that she met her now husband, bassoonist Patrick Bolduc.
“We met in our living room,” she laughs, explaining they both were renting rooms in the same house. Though they didn’t know each other before, they ran in the same circles and “obviously, it was meant to be.”
The couple moved to Peterborough in 2006 where Goodwin taught piano to kids and adults of all ages — as she had been doing since she was 16 years old — while she and Bolduc started a family.
They were only in Peterborough for five years before moving east to be core members in the Symphony New Brunswick. There, for more than a decade, Goodwin and Bolduc were both founding members of a well-known woodwind quintet called Ventus Machina, which Goodwin acknowledges is bittersweet to leave behind.
“It’s hard to have to move on from something that we literally poured our souls and creativity into and from our family that were our bandmates,” Goodwin says. “But they’re going to continue on without us, which is great in that we’ve created something that will live past our involvement with young musicians coming in to fill our spots.”
Developing her skills in administration, Goodwin returned to school to complete a master’s degree in arts management and leadership from Queen’s University, graduating in 2023. She notes that having studied with young people in their mid-twenties will help her in the new role with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra.
“I had the experience of connecting with those fresh perspectives and really current conversations around the arts and business practices,” she says. “I’m really hoping I can bring some of that youthful, optimistic energy to this job and this organization.”
Now, she is eager to be settling back in Peterborough, reconnecting with old friends and artists while refamiliarizing herself with the city and learning what community members want out of the orchestra.
“I’m really interested in having the conversation about how the orchestra can serve, be involved, and be pertinent to the community and Peterborough specifically,” she says. “There are some very exciting things to come.”
Despite her new role as the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra’s general manager, she has no plans to lock away her oboe in a case. However, she is looking forward to helping create opportunities for other artists and musicians.
“I can create so many opportunities to be good for the industry and for keeping orchestras alive, especially in a smaller place where we don’t have to drive to the big city to have this great experience,” she says. “I’m just totally blessed to have made it this far.”
The 2023-24 season of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra continues on Saturday, April 13th with “This is Italy” (featuring guest artist Beverley Johnston on vibraphone) and concludes on Saturday, May 25th with “Sea You” (featuring guest artist Sheng Cai on piano), with both concerts taking place at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit thepso.org.
kawarthaNOW is proud to be a media sponsor of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra’s 2023-24 season.