R.D. Parker Collegiate was recognized as one of the top 10 schools in Canada for the number of student musicians they sent to the International Music Camp (IMC) this year.
Five students from the school attended some of the seven week-long sessions that were offered at the camp, which was founded in 1956 and lies along the border between Manitoba in Canada and North Dakota in the United States.
These students included Abbey Smith, who has graduated, as well as Kendra Martinussen, Nicole Cruda, Carissa Kennedy and Landon Greenwood-Sollis.
It was the first time for some of them, while others had been several times before.
Martinussen attended the jazz session and it was her first time at IMC.
“It was very busy because you move around,” says Martinussen, a Grade 12 student who plays saxophone in jazz band and bass clarinet in concert band. With full band rehearsals twice a day, the saxophone master class and private practice, she said she was playing music about eight hours a day. “It was intense.”
But she also enjoyed the experience of meeting new friends from around the world, including Austria and Luxembourg.
“I have lots of international friends that I still talk to,” she says.
Grade 10 student Cruda, who plays percussion, earned a scholarship to the camp at the Parkland/NorMan Region Honour Band festival last March, along with Greenwood-Sollis. She enjoyed the chance to met new people and try out different instruments, like the marimba, even if the camp was sometimes physically draining.
“We had to carry all our stuff and so it was tiring,” said Cruda, who said after just one day at the camp she felt as if she had improved as a musician.
Carissa Kennedy, who is in Grade 11, has been to IMC every year since first attending ion the summer between Grade 7 and Grade 8 and had a good time meeting other likeminded people.
“They’re just as invested in music,” she said, and she enjoyed the mix of Canadian and American educators with different perspectives and concepts.
While some of the students attended the camp at the same time, being the only one from Thompson during her week isn’t as isolating as you might think.
“You see a lot of kids from Winnipeg [who you’ve met at other festivals],” says Martinussen.
“The music community is actually sort of small in Manitoba,” said RDPC music teacher Stevie MacPherson, who said she didn’t know the camp recognized the top 10 schools in the country with the most camp attendees until she got the letter and the plaque.
With the exception of Martinussen, who has already received as much scholarship support as she can, the rest of the Thompson music students who went did so with the help of scholarships.
“It’s a really great camp and we like sending students to it when we can,” said MacPherson, who attended IMC when she was a student growing up in Thompson and has also been to one of their adult camps.