An award-win­ning voice

Bay Roberts girl earns high­est vo­cal mark in At­lantic Canada

The Compass - - NEWS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS OBIT­U­AR­IES Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

If you asked Katie Rus­sell of Bay Roberts what she wants to be when she grows up, she would proudly say a singer or a dancer.

The nine-year-old Amal­ga­mated stu­dent is tal­ented. She par­tic­i­pates in mu­sic com­pe­ti­tions and takes dance classes.

Katie was re­cently awarded the top award for At­lantic Canada in the Royal Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic Level I singing com­pe­ti­tion. Her score of 92 was the high­est over ev­ery par­tic­i­pant from all four prov­inces.

What makes that even more ex­cit­ing for Katie is she only be­gan tak­ing voice lessons last year from Car­bon­ear na­tive Ali­cia Gilling­ham.

“We had a test,” the cheer­ful blonde told The Com­pass last Thurs­day. “You had to do in­ter­vals and sing a few songs and do some other stuff too.”

For her test­ing, she had to per­form “Song of Sum­mer­time” and “The Wind” from the Royal Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic Level I voice exam book. The com­pe­ti­tion took place in June.

It was au­tumn be­fore she found out she won the award.

“When we found out from Ali­cia that she had won the gold medal, we were just flab­ber­gasted,” said her mom Stacy.

For Katie, it was the high­light of her short ca­reer so far.

“I pretty much screamed and ran around the house like a ma­niac when I found out.”

Katie didn’t go to Hal­i­fax for the award cer­e­mony, so the medal was shipped here and will be handed out later this week.

Katie won two first place awards at the Ki­wa­nis Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in Car­bon­ear ear­lier this year. One of her per­for­mances was “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cin­derella. The mu­si­cal the­atre per­for­mance gave her the chance to show­case more than her vo­cal tal­ent.

“I am very, very sur­prised that I’ve got all this from my first year of voice lessons,” Katie said.

But if you ask her what’s her favourite per­for­mance to date, there’s no ques­tion in her mind. It’s “My Fa­vorite Things” from The Sound of Mu­sic.

Co­in­ci­den­tally, that is Katie’s mom’s favourite song as well.

Where Katie has an in­ter­est in mu­si­cal the­atre, her dance skills will come in handy for dif­fer­ent per­for­mances. Right now she takes bal­let and tap, but hopes to be­gin jazz next year. She is also a Girl Guide.

It would be no sur­prise to hear one of her favourite classes at school is mu­sic. But she told The Com­pass she also likes gym and es­pe­cially re­cess.

Nor­mally some­one would think prac­tice makes per­fect. Al­though it’s true in many sit­u­a­tions, Katie dis­agrees.

“(My mom) kept telling me to prac­tice, but I didn’t,” Katie laughed.

Stacy is OK with not push­ing Katie too hard ei­ther. She said she wants Katie to sing be­cause she loves it, not be­cause she’s good at it.

“She does sing all the time when she’s at home,” Stacy ex­plained. “We sing a lot in the car. And there’s a lot of danc­ing and singing go­ing on at our house.”

Katie’s favourite part is per­form­ing on stage. That’s where she does her best, es­pe­cially in

mu­si­cal

and front of large groups of peo­ple.

“I feel like a big au­di­ence is eas­ier, be­cause you can barely pick out any­body’s face,” she said.

For next sea­son, Katie is work­ing with Sarah Loveys as her voice coach. She will soon pre­pare her pieces for the Ki­wa­nis fes­ti­val.

Mom is

happy

she

en­joys singing, and wants her to stick with it.

“We’re hop­ing she con­tin­ues to nur­ture it,” Stacy noted.

But for Katie, it’s not just about be­ing the best.

“Hop­ing to go for first place, but I’m still go­ing to be happy with what­ever I get,” she said.

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COM­PASS

Katie Rus­sell has earned the top over­all score for Level I in At­lantic Canada from the Royal Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic.

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