By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Smith Music concert series has become a Father’s Day weekend 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 once again delight audiences June 17 – 19 as students put on five shows over three days.
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.
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, 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. “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 13 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 performed in different musical styles. 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.”
Video from last year’s event