The Grades 4 to 6 choir at St. Anne’s School is the best in the province after beating 15 other choirs at the Alberta Choral Provincials. Cathy Larson, the music teacher who led the choir, hopes they will do it again as she prepares the students for the Canada West Arts Festival in Edmonton on July 21 and 22.
“I was very proud of their accomplishment, but I was also very pleasantly surprised,” Larson said in an interview. “I knew they would do well, but… there’s normally not that many choirs.”
The choir won its category at last year’s Canada West Arts Festival in Saskatoon. This year, 62 students will compete at the festival. The school’s Grades 2 to 3 choir, which included 72 students, finished second in their category.
Choir is voluntary and opens to everyone; there are no auditions. The students meet at least once a week. It’s size shows there is an interest in the group among students. About 20 students from the Grades 4 to 6 choir competed with the winning choir at last year’s festival.
St. Anne’s School is not considered an arts school, but Larson says music is a huge part of the school’s culture.
“I’m very passionate about music and bringing it to students,” she said. “I believe everyone can sing. Yes, there are better singers, but I believe everyone has the capability of singing and being part of a choir and developing their own voice.”
Larson said the choir builds confidence, and teaches discipline and listening skills Most importantly, it makes students part of a group. It’s common for some students who struggle with academics or sports to thrive when they join choir or an arts field, said Larson.
“There’s a sense of belonging and a sense of community that’s just so important,” said Larson. “I’ve seen some students really blossom and take off and try new things because because of the success from choir.”