A special tribute to Barbara Kamienski (’71)

Loyal friend, trusted colleague, brilliant musician, stellar editor, beloved wife and mother—these are all phrases that describe Barbara Kamienski, a much loved and respected member of the North Toronto Foundation Advisory Board who lost her battle with cancer in June 2019.

Born in Winnipeg, Barbara was nine when she moved to Toronto with her mother. She soon distinguished herself at John Fisher Public School where, through the itinerant music program, she began her life-long love affair with the French horn.

At NT, Barbara continued to excel, staying in the top five of her class and winning awards. Musically, she was partly responsible for the senior orchestra successfully performing two challenging pieces of repertoire, as both featured significant French horn solos.

After graduating from NTCI, Barbara’s love of music led her to Germany to pursue a career as a professional musician. She always maintained that the lessons she learned at the school served her well during her 20-year career in leading orchestras. Even after returning to Canada in 1999, Barbara’s former colleagues hired her back for tours when extra French horns were needed!

In Toronto, Barbara played in several local orchestras and chamber music ensembles. She also returned to school, graduating from Ryerson University’s Publishing Program with Honours. Barbara indexed and edited many large projects and is credited in over one hundred publications in multiple fields of endeavour.

She also nurtured and edited her father’s memoir: Hidden in the Enemy’s Sight: Resisting the Third Reich from Within. Published in 2008, it revealed that before becoming an art critic, columnist, and editorial cartoonist for several newspapers in Winnipeg, Jan Kamienski had been a member of the Polish resistance in the Second World War.

Barbara loved NTCI and was deeply involved in planning the school’s 100th anniversary festivities in 2012. She willingly edited Memories Forever, which chronicled the history of the renowned NTCI music program. This led to joining the NTCI Foundation Advisory Board as editor. She is greatly missed.

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