December 2002
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Christmas with Heart
By Remzi Cej, Holy Heart High School, St. John’s, NF

Ronan MacParland is walking down the Holy Heart Auditorium, nervously looking at his watch while he’s carrying a saxophone on one hand, and a pedestal on the other. “I feel nervous,” he says, as I ask him how he feels about tonight.

Unlike Ronan, Jeff is not nervous at all. He says he’s been playing in concerts for some time now, and he vaguely remembers his first year of solo performance. He seems to have gotten used to this, since his face expressions show enthusiasm without any “butterflies” or redness.

Now that I feel I’ve kept you guessing for a long enough time, I will tell you where I am. I’m in the Holy Heart Auditorium , waiting for the annual “Christmas with Heart” concert to start. This concert, organized by Holy Heart’s Applied Music Class students, and also different bands, as well as some student formed ones, seems to have attracted a number of youth to get involved with music. “More than 60 students have been practicing for the last three weeks, every day, diligently bringing their heavy instruments and not hesitant in away, working on their music notes,” says Grant Etchegary , organizer and teacher of Applied Music at Heart. He also says that this is only the instrumental part of the music faculty concerts that are in line for December, adding that there will be a choirs concert held soon. He does seem very busy setting up the last things before the audience gets into the auditorium. Grant gives the cue to his students who seem to be practicing their parts in the concerts that “the house is in” and that there’s not much time left for practicing.

It seems like everything’s ready by about five minutes after my short dialogue with Mr. Etchegary. The student performers come out to the stage and set up their seats along with their instruments, and with small giggles look out to the audience, to see if anyone they know is out there. The music starts playing after Mr. Etchegary’s introduction, and it’s the Concert Band that performs first piece. It’s the Highland March, which seemed to be most popular amongst the audience in the first, concert band part of the night.

I promised myself not to make this article boring, so I will go to the highlights of the night straight away. The performance I enjoyed most was Tara Dunphy, whose voice was just something I very well enjoyed. It was a great singing I heard from her, considering it was her first night singing in public.

Another applause-deserving performance was Matthew Walsh’s traditional Newfoundland instrumental music on accordion. It seemed like everyone in the audience loved his playing, to the point where some people were about to go to the stage and dance. His selection was one that made me tap my foot, and I must say, I enjoyed every bit of the music.

“Bart and the Breadpicks” is a group that was formed from 4 grade 10 students and one grade 12 student. I haven’t yet listened to much bluegrass country music, but boy, I tell ya, it was the most professional bluegrass performance I’ve listened to so far. They even played Amazing Grace on banjo! Tom Power, the banjo player commented on how the group got its name and told the story of how Bart, one of the band members used a bread tie as a pick, so they decided to call themselves “Bart and the Breadpicks.” My favourite for this night, I have to admit, was this band.

The night was certainly something youth should definitely not have missed on, even though there were a number of them clapping their hands and showing their “fanship” towards the performers. I found myself jumping at one point, from all of the great things I had gotten a chance to hear. The best part was the uniqueness and universality of the music , even though there were high numbers of students performing. As Sylina Jones, a member of the concert band said, “Being part of something as big as a concert band makes you feel better and the feeling of belonging to something bigger is just something incredible. We all work together. It’s amazing.” Well, Sylina’s words proved to be true this night. I enjoyed it greatly. Words can’t describe the feeling of music, but imagine a big hall where the performers of the New York Music Orchestra are made younger, but performed with the same fame. Now, can you imagine it?

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