Performers answer Highwood Lions’ call
Music: Foothills artists hit the stage at High River festival
Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 06:00 am
Some sweets sounds from Foothills area artists had some local Lions purring.
Several singers and musicians from the Okotoks area participated in the Highwood Lions Music Festival Adjudicators’ Showcase Saturday at the High River United Church.
Several of them were recommended to go on to the provincial competition in Edmonton in June.
Bryanna Cuthill, a Grade 9 student at St. John Paul II Collegiate, will see triple duty in Edmonton. She was selected for vocal solo girls, musical theatre solo up-tempo and musical theatre ballad (all 16 years and under).
Her classical solos were Mozart’s Ridente La Calma and Zueignung by Strauss.
“I feel all so grown up when I sing it,” she said of classical music. “You can’t do musical theatre and pop correctly without your classical training. I find if I sing classical, I actually improve my musical theatre and pop technique.
“It’s just fun to sing super, super high and in a different language.”
She performed The Wizard & I from Wicked and Sal Tlay Ka Siti from The Book of Mormon in her provincial-worthy performances in the music theatre categories.
Cuthill is an experienced Lion singer — this was her fifth Highwood showcase.
“I like the inclusion — there is a little bit of everything,” Cuthill said. “You get to be with your fellow performers, see what they are doing and get some feedback from the adjudicators.”
Derek Henry, 20, finds himself heading to provincials in just his first year at the Highwood festival.
“I have never done anything like this — I like to try new experiences,” Henry said. “You know what they say — do as much as you can when you are 20.”
His energy on stage should be bottled — as in a genie’s bottle.
Henry performed A Friend Like Me from Disney’s Aladdin at the showcase.
“It fit my personality — the genie is all over the place and that’s the kind of person I can be,” he said with a laugh.
He credits Foothills Comp Drama teacher Jody Swift for introducing him to drama, while Okotoks music teacher Naomi Koch fine-tuned his singing voice.
He’s not too worked up over going to provincials. He’s excited, but he’s not worrying about winning.
“My goal is just to be a better person,” Henry said. “Just keep improving.”
Julia Bichel gave a spell-bounding performance at the festival. She was invited to provincials in the 12 years and under musical theatre solo ballad category for her rendition of My Friend the Dictionary by Putnam.
“My music teacher Naomi Koch and I were looking at tons and tons of songs and I found this one and I really liked it,” the Grade 7 student at St. John Paul II Collegiate said. “I like fun songs, so I picked this crazy one.
“It was a lot of fun to do.”
Musical theatre is up her tin pan alley.
“I like acting along with the beat and things,” she said. “It’s also always fun to find your costume and figure out what to wear.”
As for the Lions festival, she gave a huge thumb’s up.
“I loved it,” Bichel said. “It was good feedback on things I can do better.”
Other Foothills area artist who advanced to the provincial festival through the Highwood Lions’ event include classical guitarist Spencer “Mr. HTA” Draper, who is instructed by Okotoks’ Terry Siqueira.
There were 1,182 artists performing at the Highwood Lions Music Festival in High River.