Point Grey Music students nearly screamed themselves hoarse in Seattle last month, according to senior band teacher Brent Taylor.
Students cheered and screamed during the slick awards ceremony at the WorldStrides Heritage Music Festival because they were ecstatic about their results.
Especially given that for a lot of our groups, we were out of our weight class, so to speak, said Taylor.
The Kerrisdale school competed at the festival for the first time and came away with top results. One hundred and twenty-five music students that play in seven ensembles loaded onto three buses for the trip south.
Festival entrants are divided into three categories based on their school size. The Point Grey students soon learned that as a medium-sized, or AA, school their ensembles that included Senior Strings, Chamber Choir and Vocal Jazz, would have no one to compete against. They could be rated bronze, silver or gold but there would be no first, second or third.
The students were given the choice after the Friday night performances: stay in AA, or compete against larger schools. We held our breath and went for it, Taylor said.
The risk paid off. All seven ensembles received silver and gold and placed in the top three.
The adjudication teams chose eight of the 700 students at the festival for special recognition, two of them from Point Grey: Helen Lin who plays piccolo and Irene Ng for her accompanist skills playing piano with the choir. Choral teacher Taylor Collishaw won an adjudicators award and her choirs were invited to perform at elite festivals across North America.
The Chamber Choir was named top choir at the festival and, along with the Concert Choir, won Point Grey the Choir Sweepstakes award, which is given to the school with the two highest choir scores.
Point Grey also received the Overall Sweepstakes award, which is given to the school that has the highest achievement across a range of disciplines. To qualify, a school must have at least one choir, one concert band and a third group in any discipline.
We showed up [at the school] with the trophies and I put them on the sign-in counter in the office and I never said a word to anyone. We just displayed them there, which is what the athletic guys all do, Taylor said. We thought, we can run with those guys, right.
Soon the principal and Point Grey Music student parent Simon Hill were broadcasting the news far and wide.
Its great to have the kids efforts recognized and validated because arts gets cut so badly or it gets shuffled off and this has raised the profile, Taylor said.
Hill wants Vancouverites to know they can hear the talents of Point Grey Music students and help fund the program by attending the schools production of Les Miserables, which starts May 6.
For more information, see pointgreysecondary.ca.