RDPC music department digs into the past to celebrate graduates’ future

Fedoras, trench coats, and Rosie the Riveter costumes were on full display at the Letkmann Theatre June 6, as the R.D. Parker Collegiate music department decided to pay tribute to the post-war 1940s for their 32nd annual Cabaret.

Aside from opening the night with John Williams’s “Raider’s March” (which was composed in 1981), the school’s senior concert band, choir, and jazz band ran through a selection of swing hits that were properly authentic to that time period. Some of the standout selections included “Beyond the Sea,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”

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According to RDPC music teacher Kevin Lewis, who conducted the senior concert and jazz bands on Tuesday night, it was the students who chose this year’s throwback theme, not the teachers.

“This one fit very well because it gave us a lot of opportunity to play great swing music, music that the kids probably have heard at some point but didn’t know the names of them.”

Outside of its distinctive theme, this year’s Cabaret was also notable for it’s change of venue, since this is the first time the show has been held in the Letkemann Theatre in its 32-year history.

“We’ve had a lot of feedback from parents and families that it’s sometimes difficult to hear, particularly the vocal groups, inside the gym,” said Lewis. “The gym is great for gym like activities, but it’s not the greatest place for acoustic opportunities.”

This change of venue also helped add a sense of theatricality to the event, which is appropriate for a show that acts as a sendoff to the members of the music department who are on the cusp of graduation.

In total, 14 students will be leaving the program by the end of June and a select few were handed awards for their years of dedication to the RDPC music program.

Some of the biggest award winners of the night included Courtney Taylor (Outstanding Band Student award), Maggie Colbourne (Outstanding Choir award), Turna Sarker (Outstanding Jazz Student award), and Dami Wi (Outstanding Music Student of the Year).

“These people are looking to get involved in business and politics and the medical field and business administration and just a large number of different careers,” said Lewis. “We’re so proud of them, and we look forward to hearing stories of their success in future years.”

Lewis also said that this event serves as a great opportunity to reflect on everything the department has accomplished during the 2016–17 school year.

“We had a lot of success over the year with our trip to Banff … and our numerous performances here in the community and in festivals around Manitoba and of course in the Rocky Mountains, and it’s just very nice to wrap up with a fun event like this.”

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