Brief encounter with a rising star

Band teacher Kayla Solomon prepares to pack up her trumpet this summer, as Illinois University beckons


The local school has been privileged to enjoy the energy and classroom pleasure of a rather special teacher – albeit for just half a year.

Kayla Solomon, trumpet player and academic from Winnipeg, joined the team at Killarney School in early January, after hearing about a vacant maternity leave post in the school.

“I’ve been living in Winnipeg with my mom, and Heidi Peters, who is originally from Killarney, said she knew they were looking for a band teacher for mat leave here at the school,” said Solomon. “Heidi was my piano teacher when I was growing up in Winnipeg, and she comes back to Killarney on weekends, because her husband works here at the hospital. She said I should apply for the position at the school, and I got the job.”

Solomon began teaching at Killarney School in early January, taking on both Grade 9 Math, and Band from Grade 6 to 12. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Brandon University, and also a Masters Degree in Music, in Trumpet Performance and Literature, from UCLA in Los Angeles, California.

And if that was not impressive enough, this young musician, who turns just 25 on May 16, is currently working on her doctorate at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champagne.

“I started last August, and this past week I just completed my first year,” said Solomon. “So I am kind of on holiday now in the evenings. It’s all been online, and I took my classes in the evening, and taught during the day. I’m hoping to complete my doctorate in three years. I want to be a university professor.”

Solomon says that her strong passion for education is what led her to this point in her life.

“I loved school, and I loved band growing up,” she said. “Music helped me achieve discipline, and dedication. And that has served me well. I like to get things done.”

She first played piano at age five, and then began trumpet in Grade 7, along with a little violin. But the shining wind instrument is what eventually filled her sails as graduation approached.

“I played in bands, wind ensembles, concert bands, and some jazz bands,” said Solomon. “In Grade 12 I decided that trumpet is what I would play in university.”

And her success at university is what is now drawing this teacher and performer away from the school gates earlier than hoped.

“The University of Illinois, where I am doing my doctorate, has offered me a teaching position, in trumpet and leading ensembles,” said Solomon. “That will start in mid-August. I signed the contract a few weeks ago. I have been telling the kids that I will be going at the end of June, and they were sad. And I am too. I have loved it here. Meagan, the band teacher, will be back in December, so someone else will take over the role until then.”

In a curious twist of fate, it turns out that Solomon had previously played a small part in the returning band teacher’s romantic family history.

“I actually played trumpet for Meagan’s sister’s wedding in Killarney, around five years ago,” said Solomon. “That’s an interesting coincidence.”

Solomon often performs and collaborates with other musicians, she said, and their wonderful trumpet performances can be enjoyed online.

Jane Ireland, arts administrator for the Killarney Turtle Mountain Arts Council, has compiled a list of links to these amazing performances for viewers, she said.

“We are thrilled to share with you some recent performances by Kayla Solomon, the current band instructor at Killarney School,” said Ireland.

“Performing community outreach concerts has been a big part of Kayla’s musical training, and she is hoping to share some of her recent performances with her community in Killarney. Please enjoy these wonderful recordings on Kayla’s YouTube channel, and feel free to share with others!”

And here they are:

To view all Kayla’s performances go to

GREENER PASTURES FOR KAYLA SOLOMON – Band teacher and top trumpet player Kayla Solomon is getting ready to fly the nest later this summer, following six happy months as a temporary band and math teacher at Killarney School. The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne, where she is pursuing her music doctorate, has just offered her a teaching position in trumpet and leading ensembles, starting in August. Keep on scrolling to view all the bands she recorded at Killarney School this week.


A WHOLE NEW WORLD – Like the song from Aladdin that the Killarney School Junior Band was playing Tuesday afternoon, it was “a whole new world” for passers-by viewing live music for the first time in months. Band teacher Kayla Solomon, who started at Killarney School in January, led all the school bands through three days of practice and recording on the front lawn this week. 

JUPITER – The Junior Band (Grade 8 and 9) plays Chorale from Jupiter by Gustav Holst on Tuesday afternoon. They also played and recorded Aladdin’s A Whole New World by Alan Mencken. The Grade 8/9 Band students hadn’t played together all year prior to a couple of recent rehearsals before they recorded their pieces.

DRAGON SLAYER – The Killarney School Grade 7 Band plays and records Dragon Slayer by Rob Grice on Monday afternoon. The recordings are all in place of the final band concert, which is cancelled for the second straight year due to pandemic restrictions. All of the bands’ recordings will be available to family and friends in the coming weeks, when an unlisted YouTube link will be sent out so they can view the concert, said Kayla Solomon (conducting, left).

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA – The Senior Band plays selections from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber on Tuesday morning. They also played and recorded a piece titled Autumn Hill by Brendan McBrien.

PENGUIN PROMENADE – The two Grade 6 bands (above) both played and recorded Penguin Promendade by Mike Hannickel. 

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE – Kayla Solomon conducts the Killarney School Jazz Band on Monday morning as they prepare to record their final band concert performances of the school year, which will be showcased via YouTube. The Jazz Band played and recorded Caravan by Juan Tirol and Duke Ellington, Stray Cat Strut by Brian Setzer, Mission Impossible by Alamo Schifrin, and Old Time Rock and Roll by George Jackson and Thomas E. Jones III.