Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Knights Before Christmas - Holy Trinity Festival of Art

I will confess that this year I have been struggling a bit to find my usual holiday spirit. I won't go into the reasons, but suffice to say I have been going through the motions a bit as opposed to truly feeling my normal seasonal joy. I have found moments when I felt it - the Santa Claus parade, for instance, and the Santa Bus tour with Country 93.3. Last night I found it again, and it seems this time it had hidden away in the Suncor Energy Centre for the Performing Arts at Holy Trinity High School. It was tucked in among some apple cider and cookies and students and staff, who produced a wonderful little evening of seasonal music and atmosphere.

I love the theatre at Holy Trinity. I have written before that it must be one of the most flexible spaces in the city, able to become a Zumba studio or setting for a dramatic performance. Last night it became a little cabaret, with scattered tables and some theatre style seating, lending the whole evening an intimate, and festive, flair. It had been lovingly decorated, too, with street lamps and white lights and white mesh netting and a fibre-optic tree, softly changing colours in the background. It was simple and tasteful and sophisticated, and the ideal setting for the evening.

And the evening? It was performances by Holy Trinity students and staff, mostly vocal performances but one dance number, too. The selections were all Christmas music, some of the more traditional and sombre variety, such as Silent Night, but some were more modern, too, with new classics like Wham's "Last Christmas".

I had four favourite moments last night which I would like to share with you. The first was a performance of "Santa Baby", a very tongue-in-cheek take on the wish list for Santa. This is one of the few instances where I know the student's name, as I found her on Twitter this morning. So, to April Bolen, who delivered this song with the attitude and spunk it requires, I dedicate this video (and I thank her for a lovely version of the song):

My next favourite was a rendition of "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas", which was delivered by a young man who wore a Santa hat and possessed tremendous stage presence. To him I dedicate this video, and thank him for a version of the song that had me giggling for the entire drive home:

Next favourite moment? A group version of this song, made famous by Wham. Each of the female vocalists did a wonderful job with their specific solo lines, but it was their harmony that truly shone. To them I dedicate this video, and thank them for displaying their beautiful voices in a rather non-traditional Christmas tune:

And finally, my most favourite moment of all. There is one Christmas song that has always been my personal weakness, one song that I think is so tremendously beautiful - and one almost impossible to sing well. It is a truly challenging piece for any vocalist, and when they closed the show last night with this song I was beyond delighted to listen to a young woman capture every note with perfection. It was the perfect end to a lovely evening, and just the right tone in so very many ways. To her I dedicate this video, and extend my thanks for managing to perform so well what many try, but fail.

To all the students and staff at Holy Trinity I say this: Thank you. Thank you for helping me to find a little piece of my Christmas spirit, from my giggles during the hippopotamus song to my grins during "Santa Baby" to the moments that gave me chills during "O Holy Night". There is great talent in your school, both in the students and the staff who teach them, and it was an honour to witness it and to celebrate it with you.

To the rest of this community - keep an eye on the students from Holy Trinity. These students, and the ones like them at all our other schools, are the future of the performing arts in this community. Even if you don't have children in our school systems I strongly suggest checking out some of the performing events these schools hold, because you are very likely seeing people who you will one day see on the stage at Keyano, and, for some, perhaps on far larger stages around the world. Last night I sat in a lovely little theatre in a wonderful local high school, and what I saw and heard shone so brightly that it rivals the Christmas star. These young students, each and every one of them, are stars in my mind, and they deserve that recognition. They are our future, and I think we are very, very fortunate because in them I see a bright future indeed.

My sincere thanks to
Holy Trinity High School
for the invitation to attend
The Knights Before Christmas,
and to all the students and staff
who made it a wonderful evening.

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