Festival 500 (February 23-26, 2012)

The following is submitted by Ms. O'Brien.

This past week, six students, Rosie Edmunds, Scott Lucy, Veronica Flowers, Claire Igloliorte, Madison Beattie and Halle Lucy and myself, Stephanie O’Brien, travelled to Happy Valley-Goose Bay for the annual Festival 500. 

Festival 500 is a gathering of many students, teachers, adults and visiting directors musicians who work together over three days to learn many choral arrangements, which is then put together for a public concert on the last evening.  Students work throughout the day with a choir director and approximately one hundred other students from across Labrador, learning song, dance, choral techniques and much more. 

This year’s choir director was Kellie Walsh from St. John’s.  She worked very hard with 124 students, the largest choir ever at Festival 500, for approximately 10 hours, over three days.  Their songs all had a similar theme of love, hope and change.  Songs included “Man in the Mirror”, “I Believe”, “Give Us Hope”, “Dubula”, “Firework”, and “Land Called Labrador”.

There was also a mass adult choir, consisting of 50+ members.  They worked together for seven hours and learned six selections, two that were sung with the student choir to end the show.  It was a very powerful experience for all that were involved.

I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the students who were involved.  They represented our school very well, were very well behaved and made lots of new friends.  They were open to new learning experiences and were embraced by Kellie, who has a very soft spot for our Hopedale children.  Rosie Edmunds also volunteered herself to speak on the radio about her experience.  She did an excellent job.  (Her interview can be heard at the link below.)  Rosie also auditioned for a solo and was chosen from among many that tried out.  She sang a part of “I Believe” at the sold-out concert on Saturday evening.  Madison was also part of a trio for the song “Give Us Hope”.

A big thank-you goes out to Mrs. Janet Wiseman, the festival’s coordinator.  She is the one, year after year, pushing for funding to make these travel opportunities available at no cost to our children.  Without her dedication, coastal students would not get to have these wonderful experiences.

Another great, successful, festival!

Here is Rosie’s interview on CBC Radio:

Take a look at some of the videos that were taken during rehearsal!