As an extracurricular activity, the grade 3-6 choir at Norwood Elementary School in Wetaskiwin has proven to be quite popular with the young students there. It has attracted 35 kids between the ages of 8 and 12, who show up every Wednesday during their lunch hour, to sing their little hearts out.
Led by their conductor, Ms. Jane Gusdal, the choir participated in the 2012 Wetaskiwin Music Festival back in March. After their performance, an adjudicator at the festival recommended them they take part in the 2012 Provincial Music Festival in Edmonton. The Provincial Festival is by invitation only, so it is quite the honour to even be selected to compete. This was actually the sixth time Norwood's choir had been recommended for Provincials, and the fifth time they would be attending.
Once arriving at Provincials, Ms. Gusdal realized it would be quite the accomplishment for her little choir to place at all in the festival. There were eleven choirs from across the province competing in their grade 4-6 class, several of which had 70-100 voices in them. Most of them had come from much larger population centers, which meant some of the choirs had more members in them than the entire grade 4-6 population at Norwood School! Not just that, the Norwood Choir also has a dozen students from grade 3 making up their number, so they had the youngest members in all the competition.
None-the-less, Ms. Gusdal's choir was the first on stage, and they trouped fearlessly up there and sang for all they were worth. Once they were finished, they retired to the sidelines to watch and learn from the other choirs that were competing.
Ms. Gusdal shared that about half an hour into the class, she had a few of her youngest students approach her. "They whispered to me, 'Ms. Gusdal, we're sorry we let you down. They're so good. We did the best we could.'" So touched, Ms. Gusdal replied, "If that's what you think, then you don't know how good you sound. You made me proud!"
Apparently Norwood Choir really didn't know how good they sounded because after all the choirs sang and the numbers were tallied, they took second place in their class!
"It really was a treat to place second at Provincials." said Ms. Gusdal. "We really just go to see the best choirs in the Province and take the opportunity to learn from them. It's such a great experience for these young children to see what else is out there in the music world."
This year the tables were turned and the rest of Alberta had the opportunity to learn from Norwood Elementary's talented youngsters. Congratulations Norwood Choir!