Local schools pick up top awards at music festivals


By Barb McKay


Ripley Huron Community School has plenty to celebrate after bringing home three awards from the Midwestern Ontario Rotary Music Festival.


The music festival, held April 21 in Walkerton, features school choirs, bands and individual performances and community concert bands from throughout the region.


The Ripley school junior choir, made up grades 4 and 5 students, took home gold. The primary choir of students in grades 1, 2 and 3 and the school band with students in grades 6, 7 and 8 earned silvers for their performances.


The school’s participation in the music festival is unique in that the band and choirs are made up of all the students in the classes. It’s a move the school made a few years back, which allows the students to practice during class time.


“We are such a small school so the kids are in everything,” said music teacher Janet Browne. “I’m very, very proud of them. The skills they use in music ensembles can be use in whatever they do in their lives. Music is one of the only things that uses every part of your brain.”


Huron Heights Public School in Kincardine picked up two awards at the Kiwanis Music Festival, held last month in Owen Sound. The school concert band and choir each earned silver. Music teach Shelley Van Veghal said the choir was the second highest ranking school choir to perform at the Kiwanis Music Festival and was awarded a $200 scholarship. The choir also earned gold at the Midwestern Ontario Rotary Music Festival.