for the Musicians' Portrait Project.
While still in high school, Rhonda Taft became the youngest member of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra when she joined its bass section in 1966. She is a home-grown product, studying with Paddy Brine and George Woodall but gaining the majority of her musical education through playing in an orchestra as it goes through the arduous transition from a community-based organization to a fully professional ensemble.
She also studied with the late Thomas Monahan while a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada during the 1967 and 1969 seasons. In 1968, she was the first Canadian instrumentalist to attend the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, studying with bassist Peter Mercurio, conductor Maurice Abravenal and legendary opera singer, Martial Singher.
Rhonda continues to be a proud member of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and has been the bassist with the highly successful Alberta Baroque Ensemble since it's formation in 1979.
Rhonda worked as an administrator for two summers with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada and, for a number of years, served on the executive of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 390. She presently sits on the boards of the Edmonton Symphony Society, the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation and the Alberta Baroque Music Society.
In the early 1970s while continuing to play with the ESO, Rhonda was part-owner and general manager of Edmonton's first organic foods restaurant, The Sunflower Inn. During this period, she also took a year's leave to study meditation in Switzerland.
Rhonda is the partner of Juno award winning jazz saxophonist, P.J. Perry; they have two daughters: teacher, Paula and actress, Kira.