Surrey resident Evan MacNamara, 20, received a Standing Tall Award from Coast Capital Savings last year. (YouTube photo)

Surrey resident Evan MacNamara, 20, received a Standing Tall Award from Coast Capital Savings last year. (YouTube photo)

VIDEO: Emotional ‘Standing Tall’ award moment for Surrey student musician

Prior to death, Evan MacNamara’s father wrote Coast Capital Savings with a request to help his son

It’s Youth Week in B.C. from May 1-7, a fine time to celebrate the accomplishments of young adults like Surrey’s Evan MacNamara.

The 20-year-old is pursuing a career in music at Douglas College with the help of a $5,000 Standing Tall education award he earned from Coast Capitals Savings last fall.

A percussionist since Grade 7, MacNamara wants to eventually become a music teacher, “but I’m not sure how that looks just yet,” he admitted.

In giving him the education award, Coast Capital calls the Sullivan-area resident an extraordinary young man who has overcome so much throughout his life. He is the epitome of why the awards were launched, to help youth who have been through monumental challenges pursue their dreams.

MacNamara was born with arthrogryposis, which prevents muscles and tendons from keeping up with the rate bones are growing.

The condition hasn’t stopped him from playing jazz music or basketball, two of MacNamara’s passions.

MacNamara’s story is told in a five-minute video posted to PixelMotionFilm’s YouTube channel. In the clip, Maureen Young, Coast Capital’s director of community leadership, reads him a letter written to her in 2011 by MacNamara’s father, Kelly, who died later that year.

MacNamara’s father appealed to the institution to consider him for an education award, which materialized nine years later.

“I’ve never forgotten that letter,” Young says in the video, which captures an emotional moment for both her and award recipient.

“It was really cool to have people be so supportive in every way,” MacNamara said of the award, “and just the way it was presented, with the letter my dad wrote.”

In his first year at Douglas, MacNamara’s music classes are a mix of online and in-person studies.

“We livestream concerts on Zoom, and we have a theatre at Douglas where we can be on stage and spread out there, safely,” he explained.

“This is my first year in the program, which is two years and then we can transfer to different school, for our bachelors (degree),” he added. “I’m not sure what school I want to go to yet, maybe UVic. This is just a start.”

In 2018, while MacNamara was at Sullivan Heights Secondary, he was among 20 student musicians given the inaugural Werner and Helga Höing Award during a Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert at Bell Performing Arts Centre.

One student from each secondary school in the city was nominated by their music teacher for excellence in music, leadership and community involvement, according to a VSO news release at the time.

For details about B.C.’s Youth Week, visit

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health held a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib in Surrey, which would be in what the BCCDC refers to as the Panorama community, on Friday, May 7, 2021. Roughly 400 people pre-registered to get their vaccine the week before. (Photo: Lauren Collins
Surrey communities recording more COVID-19 cases also seeing lower vaccination rates

Those same communities were highlighted in the SPEAK survey, which highlighted disparities in the city

The College of Massage Therapists of B.C. says Van (William) Dinh, a registered massage therapist in Surrey and Langley, has had his licence suspended while an inquiry committee panel investigates allegations of sexual misconduct. (Unsplash photo)
Surrey massage therapist suspended amid sexual misconduct investigation

CMTBC received complaint Van (William) Dinh allegedly exposed ‘sensitive areas of the patient’s body’

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

Surrey woman a face of World Ovarian Cancer Day campaign in London, New York

‘It’s so important we find better treatments,’ Catherine Eiswerth says

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Vancouver Giants earned a 6-2 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets Friday night, May 7, in Kamloops (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants down Kelowna Rockets 6-2

Two short-handed goals for Langley-based team

<a href="Facebook users reported seeing a body on the side of the road this morning." target="_blank"></a>Facebook users reported seeing a body on the side of the road this morning. (File photo)
Man killed in fatal hit-and-run collision between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Body reported at 6 a.m., police close North Parallel Road, single highway lane as they investigate

Most Read