Band and choir students at Hatzic Secondary took home both gold and silver medals at the World Strides Heritage Music Festival in Anaheim

Hatzic music students shine at world festival

Vocal jazz choir wins gold and band takes silver at prestigious event in California.

Band and choir students at Hatzic Secondary left a mark on the world music scene that will not soon be forgotten, even after the last Grade 12 graduating class walks out the school’s doors in June.

The school is being turned into a middle school next year and the two music teachers that worked closely together for the past seven years will be going their separate ways.

But this last year together is one to remember, said Joe Heslip, the school’s vocal music teacher.

The Hatzic’s vocal jazz band called Affirmation won gold and the jazz band earned a silver at the World Strides Heritage Music Festival in Anaheim, Calif. this past weekend. They were the only Canadian team there.

“The band won a high silver. They were just one mark away from getting gold,” said Heslip, noting the band was led by Julie Aldridge.

Grade 10 singer Mara Hatklin received a Maestro Award for best soloist and was ranked the number one vocalist of the festival.

“She was fantastic,” said Heslip, adding there were hundreds of singers this year, but only 10 were selected for a Maestro Award by adjudicators at the festival.

Hatklin’s solo was a part of Affirmation’s performance of 1,000 Things. Other numbers the group presented in a cappella were Michael Jackson’s Bad and Sting’s Fields of Gold.

“There was no music accompanying them. They made all the drum sounds and base sounds,” said Heslip. “It was kind of hard, but they did a great job.”

This was the choirs third consecutive gold medal finish at the festival.

The band performed Soul Vaccination, Cry Me a River, and Cheesecake.

Students played their hearts out and their performances were the best Heslip said he’s ever heard.

“As a music department, we worked together and a lot of kids do both (band and choir),” said Heslip. “We lean on each other and support each other.”

A total of 31 students and four chaperones attended the event.

“It was an honour to be a part of their journey.”