The Performing Arts Centre (PAC) witnessed some of the best musical talents on Monday and Tuesday evenings, May 15 and 16, as Rhonda Sylvester conducted groups of students through their annual spring recital concert.
Looking back on the year, and some of the highlights, Sylvester said, “We had a very successful year again this year with top awards and marks and provincial recommendations for all three choir groups, along with wonderful Christmas and spring recitals.”
According to Sylvester, their biggest goals and achievements throughout the year are always working towards their annual Christmas concerts and participating in local and provincial music festivals.
“Because the groups are filled with different people year to year, it takes a little time to learn how the groups will cohesively work together to accomplish these goals,” Sylvester commented. “Music is chosen for the choirs around what I think the group as a whole will be able to accomplish throughout the entire year not only by their musical capabilities, but also by personalities and how well they are working together as a team.”
Spring recital music is chosen at the end of December and worked on until February, when the festival music takes precedent, and then continues to be learned after festival season is over.
This year there where 35 choral songs in the spring recital.
Sylvester said it is often hard to single out one of her favourites, because she “loves all of the selections, which are unique to each individual choir and they are all special in their own way.”
However, for songs that included all three choirs performing together, Sylvester’s favorite two songs were, “This Is My Home,” which is a salute to Canada’s 150 birthday, and “Warm Kitty,” which was a silly play and mash up of the song made famous by the TV show Big Bang theory.
“Every year brings a crop of students that is different from the last, which I always love because it keeps things new, fresh and interesting however, I am so blessed to have many students that come back to me from year to year and their talent and musical growth continues to blows me away,” Sylvester added. “There were so many students who showed personal bests this year, so many who worked extra hard and were able to emerge as leaders within the groups, and we had new individuals who brought enthusiasm and a love for music that was infectious.”
Being a music coach and instructor for 23 years in the community, Sylvester feels that all her students are her extended family.
“For me the best thing about being in a choir is that you really do become a family; we spend a lot of time together, we learn together, we laugh together, we sometimes cry together and like real families, we don’t always agree with one another but we always know that we are there for each other when it counts and that music and singing always brings our hearts together,” Sylvester said.
Stating a case in point, Sylvester said that this year when she came down with a terrible flu the night of spring recital, she thought for the first time in 23 years she might have to cancel a concert but, her music family swooped in with anything that she needed and took care of cleaning the PAC and loading all the props and costumes in the trailer while they sent her home right after the concert to rest.
“How can I not call these people my family? I am so blessed that both parents and students stepped up and took care of things that evening,” Sylvester said. “I always feel so emotional at the end of the year concerts because we go through a lot together as a team throughout the year, and the dedication and commitment that both students and parents show during our season is tremendous. I’m so very grateful that they are a part of my life.”