MONTREAL - Lorraine Desmarais, 56, recalls the moment she committed to becoming a professional pianist.

When she was still a young child, her parents insisted on renting a piano rather than buying one, just in case she lost interest.

“And then, finally after two months I said, ‘No! No! I want to keep the piano! This is what I want to do with my life.’ My mother said, ‘Seven years old is a bit young to decide,’ But I knew,” she said.

Desmarais was motivated by more than just the chance to own her own piano.

She was inspired to tickle the ivories by listening to such virtuoso pianists as Montrealer Oscar Peterson and jazz great Chick Corea.

After a lifetime of delighting others with her piano skills, Desmarais proved again on Sunday that her parents made the right decision, as she was appointed to the order of Canada, one of 91 to be so honoured that day.

In spite of her accomplishments, she was surprised when the call came.

“It's a phone call and they say, ‘I'm calling from the Governor General's office,’ and I said, ‘Oh! What have I done?’” she laughs.

Desmarais plans to keep up performing, composing, recording and teaching, mainly at the CEGEP St. Laurent where she has long enjoyed cultivating young talent.