Talented UVic twins are always in harmony
Award-winning twins graduate with music degrees — and plans for a career together
It’s easy to fool folks if you’re an identical twin.
Just ask 22-year-old Julie and Carli Kennedy. Today, the award-winning musical twins attend their convocation at the University of Victoria, both graduating with a bachelor of music degree. Each is a top student — Carli will receive a Jubilee Medal in fine arts.
These Powell River natives are a dynamic duo — giggling, finishing each other’s sentences and plotting their futures. Julie, who plays violin and bass guitar, and Carli, a guitarist, plan to launch a joint career performing and recording.
“Our dream is to tour the world together,” said Julie, adding: “We’re best friends.”
It’s a serious mission, yet the two have a mischievous side. Julie, taking beginner’s guitar lessons at UVic, was once scheduled to take a proficiency test.
Because it was April Fool’s Day, she persuaded Carli to take her place. The instructor, who didn’t know Julie had a twin, was amazed at the outstanding progress of his student in a short time.
“He was like, how did you improve by about 10 years [of lessons]?” said Julie, laughing.
“That was one of our successful trading twins things,” Carli added.
They’ve played music together since age eight. As youngsters, they gigged in a family band with a younger sister and their father, a guitar-playing welder.
Although small, Powell River is a culturally active town, hosting an international choir festival and an operaorchestra academy. The Kennedys found many opportunities to play, including performances for visiting cruise ships.
The pair continued giving concerts while studying in Victoria. In 2005, they found a summer job playing together on B.C. Ferries shuttling back and forth to Tswwassen. Last year, Julie served as concertmaster for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, receiving a scholarship for musical leadership. She also occasionally fills in with the Victoria Symphony.
That same year, Carli was a winner at the Canadian National Music Festival and a grand winner at the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival.
As a duo, the Kennedys plan to follow their true musical passion. Although they studied jazz and classical, what they love most is playing music — much of it selfcomposed — in a folk-jazz-Celtic vein.
They also sing, taking turns tackling lead and harmony lines.
Even Julie and Carli have a hard time telling their voices apart.
“We’ll listen to recordings of ourselves, and say, ‘I’m not sure if that’s me or you.’ ”
They are definitely two peas in a pod. Both sport the same long, curly hairstyle. They say their personalities are similar. They room together, and insist they always get along.
“We really have the same … ” said Julie.
“Like interests … ” Carli said.
“And values,” Julie finished.
Are they the kinds of twins who can almost read each other’s minds?
“Uh-huh,” said the Kennedys simultaneously.
“We’ll like, bust out in song together at the same time, in the same key,” Julie said.
Having people mistake one for the other is an almost daily occurrence, although friends can tell them apart.
“Sometimes you want to be your own individual person,” Julie said. “But then we realize how much power there is in being twins, right?”
The Kennedys will perform June 21 and 26 at the Peninsula Country Market at the Saanich Fairgrounds. They play 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each of the Saturdays.