Northern music students gather in Thompson for Norman Jazz Festival

Music students from Flin Flon and The Pas joined their Thompson counterparts at R.D. Parker Collegiate Oct. 19-20 for the 2019 Norman Jazz Festival, receiving expert instruction from guest instructors from the province’s south before concluding with a concert at the Letkemann Theatre on Sunday afternoon.

Visiting instructors were Graydon Cramer, Kevin Curtis, Graham Dion, Steve Hamilton, Tetyana Haraschuk, Greg Gatien and Andrew Littleford, who concluded the Oct. 19 concert with a performance of four songs. Also performing were the School District of Mystery Lake junior jazz ensemble, the Flin Flon junior jazz ensemble, RDPC’s intermediate jazz ensemble, a combined group of intermediate jazz band members from Flin Flon and The Pas, and RDPC’s Adrenaline jazz ensemble.

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“We’ve been spending the weekend playing more in 48 hours than I’m going to be willing to bet any of you have ever done before,” said junior jazz ensemble conductor and RDPC music teacher Sarah Lewis before her group’s performance.

“We’ve had the chance to work with and spend time with some outstanding musicians,” said RDPC intermediate and Adrenaline jazz ensemble conductor and music teacher Kevin Lewis. “They took the weekend off to come up here and work with our kids. They’ve done such wonderful work.”

Greg Gatien said the Norman Jazz Festival is one of his favourite weekends of the year because he gets to play with great musicians and spend time with enthusiastic northern music students and teachers.

“On behalf of the clinicians, we would like to profusely and profoundly thank the students for being so incredible,” Gatien said. “We show up and we get to work with people who are so well-prepared in terms of their musicianship, in terms of their rehearsal skills, in terms of their humanity, so that doesn’t happen without just really, really great teaching.”

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