Campbell Collegiate’s senior choir and band ensembles performed their way into the hearts of both judges and audience members at the Anaheim Heritage Festival this past week in California.
The group of 104 Regina students beat around 55 other ensembles from across North America, winning six awards — including the Festival Sweepstakes Award, which is the top prize.
However, Deidre Baird, one of the choir’s directors, said students went without expecting any accolades.
“They do it because they love what they do, so this was such a lovely reward for their hard work,” she said.
Baird added a couple Grade 12 students also won individual awards.
Mosiah Osaseri was presented with Disney’s You Make the Magic Award for his magnanimous contribution to his school and his musical peers, after immigrating to Canada from Nigeria last year.
“When he went up to get his award, our kids were crying. You know, when people always think of teenagers, they think competition — but with our kids, it was a total love fest,” said Baird, adding Osaseri had a two-minute standing ovation.
Madison Crerar-Kashuba was also presented with the Maestro Award for her distinguished solo work in the choral arrangement of U2’s tribute to Martin Luther King titled “MLK.”
Honouring Humboldt in song
Since the Humboldt Broncos bus crash occurred just before the group left, Baird said they decided to dedicate the entire trip to the team.
She added the chamber choir would specifically sing the song “In Remembrance,” keeping the tragedy in mind.
“The song tells the story of the stages of grief and walking through those stages of grief — the anger, the complete emptiness, et cetera,” explained Baird.
“We actually had people coming up to us, saying, ‘We’ve heard about this and we are so sorry and so grateful you’re remembering them in song.’ It was so powerful.”
During each show, every student also donned a homemade green and yellow ribbon to show their support.
Entertaining travellers at the Calgary airport
On their way home, the senior choir and band ensembles entertained travellers at the Calgary International Airport during a layover.
Baird said the impromptu performance touched many people including a woman who was rushing home to visit her sick husband.
“She said, ‘This is exactly what I needed at this time.’ It was just one of those moments where you see the impact of music in peoples’ lives and it’s special,” remembered Baird.
While waiting in their terminal, the group preformed everything from traditional African songs to O Canada.