Singing a song of success
Leslie Norman and Matthew Cooper win Rose Bowls for vocal performances
Many performers dream of walking away from a competition with the top award, while others just hope to give it their best.
The latter describes two of this year’s individual Rose Bowl winners for the 44th Carbonear Kiwanis regional music festival.
Leslie Norman and Matthew Cooper, both 16, entered the competition for the love of performing for an audience. Neither expected to walk away with the coveted trophy. Leslie earned the senior Rose Bowl, while Matthew took home the junior equivalent.
The singers, both from Carbonear, captured the attention of adjudicators and performers throughout the weeklong competition March 29 through April 4.
Besides their age and hometown, Leslie and Matthew have something else in common. They have only been training a short period of time compared to some other performers their age.
Leslie, who received her award April 10, began formal training in Clarenville four years ago. She now performs several different styles of music, including opera. She is a soprano.
Matthew was referred to by one of the adjudicators as a tenor with raw talent. He has been training for two years. Matthew’s style is derived from his love of musicals.
Both have been singing without training since they were young, and are now both coached by Calvin Powell.
Leslie may be quiet and soft-spoken, but she has a powerful singing voice.
“I love to sing,” she told The Compass after accepting her award. “Just to get up, have fun and do my best. I wasn’t anticipating (winning the Rose Bowl). I didn’t know I could do it.”
The humble Carbonear Collegiate student is a member of the school’s choir, she plays piano, trains once a week with her singing coach, enjoys public speaking and plays the soprano saxophone in the school’s band.
Even though she is involved in so much, Leslie admits she’s a bit bashful when it comes to public events.
“I’m not the type of person who likes to be in the spotlight,” she said. “But I do like performing.”
Matthew’s mom Sherrie Ann said from the time Matthew wakes in the morning until he goes to bed at night, he’s singing.
The Carbonear Collegiate choir member has been telling family members he was going to be a singer for many years. When he took home the biggest award of his life so far, he called it, “one of the most amazing nights in my entire life.”
Matthew admitted he was anxious while waiting on the stage for other awards to be presented, but his face lit up when he learned he was the Rose Bowl recipient. “I am just so happy,” he said. Family support Both singers have very encouraging families behind them.
Although Matthew’s dad Scott couldn’t be at his concert performance due to being out of the province, his mom texted him throughout the night.
“We are so proud,” Sherrie Ann exclaimed.
Leslie’s parents, Darren and Cindy Norman, have encouraged their daughter to do her best.
“We just want her to be all she can be,” Cindy said. “She’s the joy of our lives. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does.”
The two performers are already looking forward to next year’s festival, but for now they will continue to perform with their choir and keep on doing what they love — singing.
Editor’s note: for more coverage of the festival, see the April 21 print edition of The Compass.
Leslie Norman sang her way into the top spot of the senior Rose Bowl category of the Carbonear Kiwanis regional music festival.
Matthew Cooper is this year’s junior Rose Bowl winner from the Carbonear Kiwanis regional music festival.