Today’s giveaway is for my fellow musicians! I wouldn’t be where I am today without a few things: unwavering support from my family, friends, and fans; passion and perseverance; and, of course, my violin! The place I go for all things strings in Calgary is VA Hill Fine Strings. I’ve relied on these guys for my repairs, re-hairs, strings, music and all since I arrived in Calgary. The staff at VA Hill are helpful, know their stuff, and can definitely provide you with all your needs as a string player.
Without a doubt, VA Hill is the largest full-service orchestral string instrument shop in Calgary. Whether you’re a beginner, and advancing student, or a professional musician, I know you’ll be taken care of by the staff at VA Hill Fine Strings. I know I always am! 😊
Here’s how you can win! At $300 gift certificate the VA Hill Fine Strings Head to my Instagram page – sophieplaysviolin – and follow instructions. It’s that easy!
It’s Day 2 of Santa Sophie’s 12 Days of Christmas!
You will LOVE this one! As a family of five, we’re ALWAYS looking for something fun to do together where we can also get out of the house in winter! Calgary’s Noel Christmas mini-market checks every box and we have a feeling it’ll appeal to everyone! We love it because it’s INDOORS (yes!), hosts an artisan market and has amazing food. The kids love it because there are four-themed light parks, and interactive light tunnel, and SANTA’S VILLAGE! Even better is that children aged 5 and under are free, which makes a cool (ok, warm) place to be during the holidays and one of the best places to get into the holiday spirit. There are plenty of opportunities to capture that perfect Instagram moment 😊
So, gather your family and friends and indulge in a spectacular Christmas event this holiday season. From an immersive, interactive light park and Christmas kids’ adventure to artisan gifts, craft beer and Christmas spirits in the Noël Christmas market, there’s something special for everyone.
To win tickets to the Noël Christmas Festival! Head to my Instagram page – sophieplaysviolin – and check out the instructions!
Happy holidays! Sophie xo
*Entries for any of the 12 Days Giveaways can be done anytime between 10am on 4th December until midnight on Sunday 15th December. Winners will be announced at 10am EST on Monday 15th December.
You’re the best! It’s been another incredible year and I couldn’t have done it without you – my fans! From performing in Calgary at the Water Lantern Festival to filming at the Bonneville Salt Flats to capturing Unvanquished in Scotland. You’ve been with me with every journey, every song, and every step. What better way to give back than with 12 days of giveaways at Christmas?!
To show my love and gratitude of your support, #santasophie is launching an entire week of giveaways on Instagram! We’re kick starting the holiday spirit by giving away some amazing prizes to celebrate the launch of the festive season here, and the release of the new Christmas album!
Starting Wednesday, December 4th, follow me on Instagram – @sophieplaysviolin– and follow the contest instructions. We know you’re going to love the prizes we’ve got in store! From luxury accommodation at a Fairmont Hotel to a glam makeover to free music lessons for a year. We’ve got something for everyone. You can even win copies of my albums AND a performance for your special event! Check back on Instagram everyday starting December 4th for your chance to win some fabulous prizes – just in time for Christmas, celebrating the release of Christmas Classics, on December 3rd. One giveaway daily starting Wednesday, December 4th, right after my Christmas album Christmas Classics with @littleharpist is released on December 3rd!
Some of the companies that will be sending some Christmas joy to our winners:
You guys! It’s been SUCH a whirlwind few weeks. I’m so excited to share finally, a preview of a BRAND NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUM! Recorded with Toronto based Harpist Chantal Dube (known for her work with Drake) we recorded in two different cities (when I was 8 months pregnant and couldn’t travel!) to create this beautiful serene instrumental Christmas album with all your favourite Christmas Carols! Out NOW for pre-order: https://music.apple.com/ca/album/christmas-classics/1485104910
Chantal began her musical journey when she was just four years old under her mother’s expert tutelage. Her mother, who owned and operated a piano studio, remained a constant inspiration in Chantal’s life as she explored her passion for music and ultimately, the harp.
In 1992 Chantal attended the Royal Conservatory Summer School of Music at Ridley College, which was sponsored by the Niagara Symphony. Here she began her enduring relationship with the harp and she continued to take lessons with the Niagara Symphony’s Principal Harpist, Doris Scharing.
As Chantal advanced her harp-playing techniques, she initiated studies with the Principal Harpist from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Suzanne Thomas.
In 2006 Chantal and violinist Cheryl Hodgson recorded a Christian album entitled “Unto His Name”, a collection of spiritual songs interwoven with some well known classical pieces. After many requests for a solo album, in 2008 Chantal recorded her third album entitled “Still Moments”, a collection of hymns that have helped her through her spiritual journeys. Chantal also recorded a solo harp Christmas album titled “Heavenly Peace” which debuted on 100 Huntley Street Dec 7, 2012. You can purchase her latest albums on iTunes or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase the CD.
Since 1996 Chantal has been sharing her musical prowess with others through performances at occasions such as weddings, banquets, funerals and cooperate events. Her repertoire is very current including songs from the Top 40 charts and consists of many genres of music to please the varied tastes of her audiences. Chantal performs for over 50 events a year, with her years of experience in the wedding industry she comes highly recommended by Toronto’s top wedding vendors and venues.
Most recently Chantal was contacted by Drake’s producers to record for Drake’s album VIEWS. She received credits for her work on Drake’s album VIEWS which was released in April 2016. The harp can be heard on the tracks titled: Keep the Family Close, U With Me & Child’s Play.
In her spare time, Chantal enjoys volunteering at the Credit Valley Hospital playing in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for the premature babies. The harp has been scientifically proven to benefit preemies. This is a unique way that Chantal is able to give back to her community.
“Chantal’s harp music brings a wonderful calming effect. The music creates a soothing environment for the infants, moms, and dads. It gives family members a moment to pause in an environment that can be very stressful and make families very anxious.” ~ Nancy Frank Patient and Care Manager, NICU.
So last year, I changed my stage name, which many of you know. Some of you guys still know me as Sophie Serafino and that’s cool, I used that name for a long time. In changing my name back to my maiden name – my birth name of Armstrong (Scottish), I became more interested in my family’s history… and have a bunch of info courtesy of Clan.com and Wikipedia and the Armstrong Clan Association: “The legends of clan Armstrong say that the earliest ancestor was Siward Beorn (‘sword warrior’), also known as Siward Digry (‘sword strong arm’). Another traditional story claims that an armour bearer by the name of Fairbairn rescued his master, the king of Scotland, mid battle by pulling him onto his horse by the thigh. Fairbairn was allegedly later given the name “Armstrong” and granted lands in the Borders. It was in this border region between Scotland and England that clan Armstrong became one of the most historically powerful clans in the country’s history. Between the 13th and 17th century the Scottish Borders were in turmoil, with anything between personal rivalries and all-out war common between the two countries. The Armstrongs were arguably the most dangerous clan during this period, with King James V of Scotland believing they were a threat to even his authority.” So basically, the Armstrongs were quite defiant and non cooperative (at least I know where I get that rebellious streak!) so ultimately the Crown forcibly dispersed the clan who were moved into and scattered across northern Ireland. My great grandfather later brought his family to Australia in 1881, with his Irish wife. I also have a Dutch grandmother and my mother’s family are British… It was pretty amazing digging up all these details!
This is the Armstrong Clan coat of arms and family crest (courtesy of kingarthur.com and thetreemaker.com). There are a few variations out there, some Scottish, some Irish. The motto is the same, “Invictus Manneo” which is Latin for “I remain unvanquished”. So there is the inspiration for my latest single! I had SO much fun exploring this while pregnant with our third little one, and I’m excited to share this journey in my language of music.