HSS music program is golden

Hatzic students return from Seattle festival with five awards

Every Hatzic Secondary School (HSS) student who participated in the Worldstrides Heritage Music Festival in Seattle last weekend helped bring home a medal.

The Affirmation Vocal Jazz Choir won gold, the Chamber Choir and the Jazz Band each took home a silver, and the Concert Band earned a bronze. Grade 12 student Lauren Berg was also named top vocalist at the festival.

A total of 59 students made the trip.

“I knew they all did really well, but I was still surprised,” said Joseph Heslip, one of three music teachers who trained the students, ranging from Grades 8 to 12. “It’s a fairly prestigious festival and it was one of the largest ones (Seattle) had — there were two awards dinners.”

Participants from across the USA and Canada competed.

Heslip said Berg’s honour came as a surprise to the Hatzic group because they did not know about the award.

Berg had impressed judges with her rendition of Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me during a solo performance with the Vocal Jazz Choir.

“She did really good,” said Heslip. “I’m sure it’s the first of many awards for her. She will go on to do great things.”

Hatzic students compete in a music festival every year. Last year the Vocal Jazz Choir also won gold at an event in Whistler, but this year’s accomplishments have raised the bar, added Heslip.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with great groups (of students) in the past, but the chemistry and desire was strong this year,” he said. “The kids loved it and they worked hard at it.”

Heslip said his students will continue to impress as Grade 8 and 9 musicians who were part of this year’s competition improve.

“We have lots of up and comers,” he said.