Wednesday, 09 December 2015 16:37

2015-16 Central School Choir chosen to perform on Telemiracle stage

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2007. 2010. 2012. 2014. Now 2016. Not too shabby.

Central School Choir have done it again as Central teacher and head of the choir Celia Hammerton received word last week they successfully auditioned for the famous 20-hour Saskatchewan Kinsmen telethon. Central School successfully made the Telemiracle 40’s “local” performers list. Telemiracle 40 will be March 5-6.
It was a huge thrill for Hammerton who brought in her friend and Sask. singer/songwriter Jeffrey Straker to the school in September to help the 47 “enthusiastic and committed” members of the choir who are in grades 3-7.
“With an amazing level of talent brought to the stage at Telemiracle auditions this year, I  was ecstatic when I received the news that Central School Choir will be performing on Telemiracle 40 in March 2016,” explains Hammerton. “I am thrilled for the students who have worked so hard on both writing and learning the song. We started with the writing of the song in September and when I announced it to the students that they will be performing on Telemiracle they were cheering and jumping up and down with excitement. Although we had very positive comments and vibes from the judging panel at the audition, there are many factors that come into their final selection including geographical representation, dance versus vocal, genre, and fundraising ability, so it was exciting to hear we have been chosen as one of Saskatchewan performers. We are all so happy and honoured to be able to represent Swift Current and the southwest at this important Saskatchewan event.”
According to the Telemiracle website, the event has raised more than $111 million over 39 years — more money per capita than any other telethon in the world. All the money raised at Telemiracle is spent in Saskatchewan helping Saskatchewan people.
Hammerton says while this is the fifth time taking part, it never gets old, especially considering it’s an anniversary year for the telethon.
“Every time it is special. There are different students in the choir each year and I love to be able to give them this opportunity,” Hammerton explains. “It is a great way for them to think more deeply about helping others as well as a fantastic opportunity to experience the whole process from auditioning to performing live on a big stage.”
Every year, Hammerton tries selecting a song that would be tailored for Telemiracle. Their past songs have included Lend A Helping Hand, When We Give We Receive and Make A Difference.
This year is even more special as the students wrote their own song Give a Little, Give A Lot with the help of Straker. Hammerton says she wanted to do something different for this edition of Telemiracle.
She thought a really great way for all the students to learn about both Telemiracle and the song writing process was through creating their very own song.
“Being part of the choir not only gives the students the opportunity to experience the enjoyment of singing, but through performance opportunities students gain a sense of pride and accomplishment, and increased confidence and self-esteem,” explains Hammerton. “It also teaches them so many life skills including responsibility, teamwork, co-operation and perseverance. This year creating and singing their own song has, I think, made them realize that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to and they have worked hard to do the best job they possibly can.”
Hammerton continues to be driven, not only for the Central School Choir, but for music education in general.
“I love to teach and share my passion for music with my students and allow them to experience the joy of making music together. These kind of special experiences are ones the students will remember for a long time and ones they learn a lot from,” explains Hammerton. “Participating in Telemiracle gives students the opportunity to be a part of this important and iconic Saskatchewan event and to do some fundraising, learning about giving to and helping in our community and province.
“(Also) I feel fortunate to live and work in a community where there is a strong music community with a lot of people who have a love of music and are dedicated to promoting the arts. We have choirs, a jazz orchestra, concerts, music/drama performances and music festival in the Swift Current community to name but a few, and many volunteers put in endless hours each year to ensure these continue.”
As a certified music teacher, Hammerton says in her experience of private teaching there continues to be a positive interest in taking music lessons and there is a great demand for pre-school music classes.
She believes music education should be accessible to everyone, not only those who can afford it. It would be great to see a program develop in Swift Current, similar to the volunteer-driven “Heart of the City” piano programs in Regina, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert which provide music lessons to those children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to receive private musical education.
“Participating in and enjoying music at a young age I believe increases the chances of children wanting to continue as they grow older,” says Hammerton. “It is great to see some of the students I had in Musical Steps classes when they were age two or three, now participating in the high-school music programs and other music events.”

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