Golden voice des­tined for sil­ver screen

Bay Roberts girl earns top hon­ours from Royal Con­ser­va­tory, acts in fea­ture film

The Compass - - Front page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

BAY ROBERTS, NL — A tal­ented young girl from Bay Roberts is prov­ing her met­tle when it comes to mul­ti­ple artis­tic dis­ci­plines.

Katie Rus­sell, an 11-year-old cur­rently in Grade 6 at Amal­ga­mated Academy, re­cently earned top hon­our in her com­pe­ti­tion level for At­lantic Canada through the Royal Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic. And this past sum­mer, she acted in a fea­ture film adap­tion of “An Au­di­ence of Chairs.”

Katie has been tak­ing voice lessons for four years and is no stranger to the Royal Con­ser­va­tory ex­ams. Two years ago, she placed first in At­lantic Canada with a mark of 92 for Level 1. She re­ceived a gold medal for her per­for­mance.

In Au­gust, she com­pleted the Level 3 voice exam in St. John’s. She per­formed three songs and was also tested with scales, tech­ni­cal ex­er­cises and sight-read­ing.

A month later, Katie re­ceived word she did quite well, earn­ing a score of 91. In early Novem­ber, her mom got word Katie was once again the At­lantic Canada gold medal­ist.

“I was kind of sur­prised, be­cause at first I thought I didn’t do very good on the exam,” said the young girl, who later ad­mit­ted to be­ing her own worst critic.

“I’m very proud — ex­tremely proud of her,” added Katie’s mom, Stacy Rus­sell.

Katie is go­ing to take a step back from her ex­am­i­na­tions next year (though she’ll con­tinue to sing and take voice lessons), and her mom is sup­port­ive of the move.

“There is a lot of prep work to it, but I think a ner­vous­ness comes with it, and be­ing young, you’re just try­ing to learn how to get over that hur­dle of the nerves and work around the anx­i­eties that come with it.”

Movie

As for her bur­geon­ing film ca­reer, Katie is among the young per­form­ers cast in a new film from Deanne Fo­ley, a New­found­land direc­tor mak­ing her third fea­ture. “An Au­di­ence of Chairs” is based on Joan Clark’s novel and fol­lows a young mother bat­tling with men­tal health is­sues.

Film­ing took place over the sum­mer in Tors Cove. Katie was cast in a speak­ing role.

“It was a re­ally fun ex­pe­ri­ence to act in a movie, be­cause I’d never done any­thing re­ally like that be­fore,” said Katie, who had done some stage work lo­cally be­fore au­di­tion­ing for the film. “I met so many new awe­some peo­ple and made so many mem­o­ries.”

Her favourite as­pect of be­ing on a film set was craft ser­vices.

“The food was the best. The food for lunch was good, and when­ever we would go from set, there was a lit­tle cart thing that was full of food. So once we were film­ing at a beach, and it was re­ally cold and windy and we were tired, so the other two kids that are in the movie with me … we all be­came good friends, and the three of us, the as­sis­tant direc­tor said, ‘OK girls, you can go and take five,’ and we all just started head­ing in the same di­rec­tion to the food cart.”

A re­lease date for “An Au­di­ence of Chairs” is not yet known, though Stacy has heard it may come out in the spring of 2018.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Katie Rus­sell, an 11-year-old girl from Bay Roberts, re­cently earned top hon­ours in At­lantic Canada for her Royal Con­ser­va­tory of Mu­sic Level 3 voice exam.

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