An award-winning voice
Bay Roberts girl earns highest vocal mark in Atlantic Canada
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
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.
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.
Katie Russell has earned the top overall score for Level I in Atlantic Canada from the Royal Conservatory of Music.