by Stephen Dafoe
The Smith Music concert series has become a tradition in Morinville, an opportunity for music students of all levels to share what they have learned while gathering donations for the Morinville Food Bank Society. Filling the bellies of those who lack the necessities of life while filling the soul with the sound of music is a combination that will delight audiences once again as students put on five shows over five days.
This year’s shows will assemble students of all skill levels for five concerts June 22, 23, 24, 27, and 28.
Paul Smith, the owner of Smith Music, said the primary reason for the annual concert series is to assist the food bank during the summer months.
“We’re expecting 600 people through here for the full five nights of concerts, and it’s a wonderful time for local musicians to help the Food Bank.”
But beyond helping those in need, the concerts provide Smith’s students with the opportunity to showcase what they have learned during the preceding year, It also provides a chance for the students to see what their fellow students and teachers have learned.
Each concert is a mixture of skill levels and instruments. It is not uncommon to see a child playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star before or after a more accomplished student laying down a Metallica guitar solo.
Smith said he has been doing the student shows for approximately 20 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.
“It’s important for them because a lot of musicians never get the ability to play in a professional working environment with stage and sound and crew, ad in front of an audience that is safe and caring, because they are there to support somebody,” he said. “It’s a great place for first timers to try out being on stage. It’s also a great place for people that are experienced to do things they might not do in a professional working situation to see how it would go over.”
Students are not the only ones to hit the stage during the concert series. Smith and his staff of eight will also take shifts on stage playing with their students and one another. The idea is a long-standing one for the concert series, started out of a desire to show students that the teachers also learn on an ongoing basis.
“It gives the kids that are playing an opportunity to see the teacher that’s been working with them all year what they can actually do,” Smith said. “Our teacher pool has increased in depth with the return of Dalton Terhorst, who is fantastic with piano theory, and Christan [Maslyk] who’s career has really developed with all the pro live shows and a band that is signed to a label.”
Smith said he hoped the general public will come out and support one of the five concerts to see the variety of musical talent available in Morinville and area and to support the Food Bank Society.
“This is something that’s really different from the average recital which is painful for everyone but the player’s parents,” he said. “This is seeing kids achieve their top level.”
Cash and food donations will be accepted at each of the concerts. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. each evening with the show starting at 7 p.m.