Thursday, 25 January 2018 05:33

Swift Current students preparing for Telemiracle 42 performance; fundraiser

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Telemiracle Choir performs in December at Central School. Telemiracle Choir performs in December at Central School.

Students from Central School in Swift Current are preparing for their performance at Telemiracle 42 and there will be a number of fundraising activities in coming weeks including a big one Feb. 1.

The Central School choir and bucket drummers will be one of 59 talented acts from across Saskatchewan that will perform during the live show for Telemiracle 42, which takes place at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina on March 3 and 4.
Music teacher Celia Hammerton said there is a lot of excitement at the school about the upcoming performance.
“The students are wildly excited as are some of our teachers actually,” she mentioned. “We’ve got several involved in choir and helping, and they’re excited as well, but the students are very excited. I think that having not been to the audition experience they’re even more excited to be going and to perform on a big stage.”
The students were scheduled to go to Regina in early November to audition, but poor road conditions after a snowfall made the trip too risky.
“It was a really difficult decision, but on the day of the audition we had to cancel,” she said. “Then we didn’t know how that was going to turn out, whether there would be an alternate audition date.”
Hammerton received a telephone call a few days later and one of the show's producers actually came to the school on Nov. 10 for the choir's audition.
“The audition process is a great thing for the students to experience,” she said. “It teaches them about working hard towards a goal, teamwork and commitment. Our students worked tremendously hard in preparing for the audition and are honoured to be one of the 59 Saskatchewan talent selected to perform.”
This will be the sixth time that the Central School choir will perform at Telemiracle since 2007. The choir's most recent performance was in 2016.
“I don’t plan to go every year, because I think they want a good representation from all over,” she said. “We’re less likely to get selected every year and I think it’s also good to make room for other acts to have an opportunity as well.”
The choir will perform the well-known song “Best Day of My Life” that was originally written and recorded by the band American Authors.
“We chose a song that was an upbeat song that lots of the kids have heard,” she said. “We’ve also decided to change it up a little bit from just doing choir to add bucket drummers, just to put a different spin on it, and to do something a little bit different, as we’ve been on as a choir before.”
A total of 47 Grade 3 to 8 students will be going to Regina for Telemiracle, which will be the largest group ever. The preparation for their performance is a good way for the students to bond and the fundraising activities in support of their Telemiracle appearance also involves other students in the school that are not part of the choir.
“t’s a great experience for them, the whole process of how this works,” she said. “They’re learning about giving and helping people. ... They can help in the planning of events and get involved with their parents to find donations. At the moment they’re all bringing in donations or going around the community to try and collect donations for a silent auction and raffle prizes.”
Acclaimed Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Jeffery Straker will be performing at Central School on Feb. 1. The proceeds from the silent auction and the 50/50 at this concert will be donated to Telemiracle.
“We will also be taking donations that evening as well,” she said. “Sometimes people just like to donate or they’re willing to give extra because it’s going to Telemiracle.”
Central School will have a number of other fundraising events in support of Telemiracle. There will be a Valentine's Day bake sale at the Swift Current Mall on Feb. 10, starting at 10 a.m. The Central School choir will be performing throughout the morning at this event.
The school's other fundraising events include a talent show for students and families on Feb. 28 and the school's spirit club is also organizing activities to raise money.
The Central School choir will be happy to take any donations from the community to Regina to present on stage at Telemiracle.
“If they make out the cheque to Telemiracle, they will get a tax receipt, but it counts towards our total,” she said.
The school wants to raise as much funds as possible to take to Telemiracle as part of their total, because the amount will be matched by Nutrien. The new company, which was formed from the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium, made a commitment to match all donations brought by performing artists and groups to Telemiracle 42 up to a total of $150,000.
“I think it encourages the local Saskatchewan performers to try and raise more money and to try and get their communities to give them money,” Hammerton said. “To me it makes perfect sense. If you’re going to send Telemiracle a cheque for $200 from your business, why not give it to us to take and you still get acknowledgement for it, but it actually becomes $400. So it’s a good incentive.”
Tickets for the Jeffery Straker concert on Feb. 1 are available from Central School or Pharmasave at $20 each. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and he will be performing some old favourites as well as songs from his new album.
Straker is doing the concert while visiting Central School for a songwriting workshop with students on Feb. 2. He has done two previous songwriting workshops at the school when students created a song for the school's centennial celebrations in 2014 and a special song that the choir performed at Telemiracle 40 in 2016.
“This time we’re going to write a song that reflects what it means to be Cougar Strong,” Hammerton said. “At Central School we are the Central Cougars. So the song will reflect what that means and our school culture.”
The songwriting process will involve all students. Hammerton will use questions provided by Straker to brainstorm ideas with students in all grade levels. This information will then be used during Straker's visit, when 20 to 25 students from Grade 5 to 8 will participate in the songwriting workshop.
It will be a unique and intense experience for this group of students, because the workshop will be for the whole day. Hammerton is glad that Straker is able to visit the school again to share his songwriting talents with students.
“He doesn’t do a lot of workshops now, because he’s so busy with touring and concerts,” she said. “So it was a little bit difficult to find a date that worked, but we were just really pleased that we could make that work and that he’s prepared to do a concert for us as well.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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