Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr has hit many high notes in his career. Before he entered politics, he was a journalist, a CEO -- and a professional oboe player.

Carr traded his usual cabinet duties for the music chamber last week, taking centre stage with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in honour of the WSO’s 70th birthday celebrations.

Carr began with the symphony 50 years ago, just three years after he picked up an oboe for the first time.

The oboe is not the easiest instrument to play. A woodwind, with two reeds, the oboe is difficult to master and can sound duck-like if played incorrectly. But Carr was a natural and spent years with the orchestra.

His dedication and passion for music carried over into politics -- a world that he says is not much different from music.

"You're communicating and that's the commonality," he recently told CTV News.

"The languages may be different, but I think the objectives are the same and I think the emotions are similar too."

Carr has never stopped playing the oboe. He likes to practise daily – a difficult request when he’s attending to his duties as natural resources minister.

Carr recently travelled to China for talks and was disappointed he had to leave his oboe at home.

"I fell a little bit behind when I was in Beijing without my oboe, but I caught up, I think," he said.

Last week, Carr headed back to Winnipeg to take centre stage as a soloist at the WSO’s 70th birthday celebrations, a moment he says he would never have missed.

"To have the joy of playing with an orchestra that has been such a part of my life, on the 70th anniversary of the WSO, for me, it's just a great chance to be with old and new friends, through music," he said.

With a report from CTV’s Jill Macyshon