By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – It was a music lover’s feast at Smith Music over the Father’s Day weekend. The school held its annual concert series – five shows over three days with the only price of admission being a donation to the local food bank.
Approximately 80 students and instructors performed for approximately ten hours, singing and playing their hearts out with tunes, many of which were composed before the students were born.
Paul Smith, owner of Smith Music said the primary reason for the annual concert series is to do something to support the food bank.
“For charities, once you get a stable thing going we like to keep it going,” he said.
Additionally, audience members could bid on being fire chief for a day. Morinville Fire Chief Ron Cust provided the vehicle whereby Smith could auction off five opportunities for lucky bidders to spend an entire day shadowing the chief on his daily duties.
“Basically, for a day they get to go through all the training; they get to ride in the truck; they get to put the lights on; they get to tell people what to do,” Smith said, noting that he originally asked the chief to donate a ride in one of the Town’s fire trucks.
Proceeds from the auction are going to sonny Davis’ Marathon of Freedom, a cause that is being championed by both Smith Music and the Morinville Fire Department.
But beyond helping those who are in need, the concerts provide Smith’s students with the opportunity to showcase what they have learned during the preceding year, but also a chance for the students to see what their fellow students and teachers have learned.
“When I took music lessons I never got to see my teacher play,” Smith said, noting that by performing alongside the students it disproves the old adage that those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. “It’s mostly it’s to give the kids a place to play and to give them some inspiration. A lot of times they’ll see another student that is just phenomenal and they’ll say, “Wow! OK, I can do it because they did it.” The spin-off benefits are everywhere.”
Smith said he has been doing the student shows for approximately 12 years. During that time he has found that the concert performances help the students overcome their stage fright and turn a terrifying experience into the feeling one gets after riding a rollercoaster – wanting to get back on and do it all over again.
Always looking to do something a little different, Smith decided that all of the songs performed by the school’s staff at this year’s shows would be songs composed by powerful women in the music industry. But one thing that hasn’t changed through the years is mixing together students of varying skill levels into one show.
“When we set the schedule, I put a person first that can handle it,” Smith said. “We try to have the next person be kind of a sideways move so that people don’t really think, ‘Is this person better or worse.’ So we have somebody that plays a rock song and then a little kid that will play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The brain doesn’t compare how that works. Then after Twinkle Twinkle Little Star we have somebody that will sing and play drums. We just try to have something different because the world doesn’t work like American Idol. It works when the people can go and market themselves and get up on stage and give themselves a moment.”
Those who missed the concert series last weekend will have the opportunity to see some of Smith Music’s students performing at this Weekend’s St. Jean Baptiste Festival.
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