South Okanagan students score top marks at arts festival

South Okanagan performers danced and sang their way to the top at the B.C. Provincial Festival of Performing Arts.

Penticton’s Emily Allin received top honour in Intermediate Classical Voice at the B.C. Provincial Festival of Performing Arts.

Penticton’s Emily Allin received top honour in Intermediate Classical Voice at the B.C. Provincial Festival of Performing Arts.

South Okanagan performers danced and sang their way to the top at the B.C. Provincial Festival of Performing Arts.

A number of performing artists scored top marks at the festival recently held in Nanaimo including Penticton’s Emily Allin who won the Intermediate Classical Voice.

The 17-year-old has been singing for 10 years and said this has been her biggest accolade. Allin had won in both classical and musical theatre at the Penticton Kiwanis festival, but because she could only represent the community in one category she chose classical.

“I enjoy both so much, but I have always loved classical music and the language of it,” said Allin, who has from singing learned basic conversation in several languages.

At the provincial festival Allin performed three songs, an Italian piece called Amaimo that means let’s love, a french song called Le Colibri that is a metaphor about love and Visits to St. Elizabeth.

“We chose songs that were more challenging and weren’t exact fits for my voice so I could continue to get better. I started one that was upbeat and sophisticated and brought more energy to the room, the second song was slower and more beautiful with long lines and suspended notes. The third piece is insane. There was so many lyrics, the rhythm was crazy and the pitches are so weird. It catches everyone by surprise,” said Allin. “I showed such a large range or repertoire and skill and I think that is why I won.”

Allin felt many of her competitors at provincials were so focused on the technical aspects on singing they forgot the emotion.

“Or, they displayed the wrong emotion. Singing in a different language, you have to know what you are saying and put the right emphasis on the right words. The singers at this level are very prepared. They are the best in the province,  but I think how I stayed in touch with what I was singing so I had a connection with the audience,” said Allin.

The teen, plans on going into sciences at UBC in Vancouver and continuing with music, possibly through the music program at the university. She thanked her coach Lynne Leydier for helping her become the singer she is today.

“My teacher really helped me a lot. I am so grateful for everything she has done for me. With her expertise I have learned a lot over the years,” said Allin.

In Senior Classical Voice and Senior Vocal Variety, Saige Carlson from Oliver took the top spot. Carlson also performed three pieces in classical, singing a song by Franz Schubert, one by Gabriel Faure and a modern song.

“The french piece was the hardest for me because it was very light and slow. I tend to like the faster rhythm songs so it was hard to relax into it for me,” said Carlson, who also is taught by Leydier.

Carlson said she started singing about five years ago and classical is her favourite style. But, in vocal variety she wowed the judges with a cabaret song called The Crossword Puzzle.

“It was really hard song and the adjudicator appreciated that because it was very wordy. It was really an honour to win because everyone was really good at provincials,” said Carlson, who hopes to pursue singing as a career one day.

Johnathan Stuchbery was runnerup in Intermediate Guitar and received honourable mention in the Intermediate Chamber Group with Ben Stuchbery and Jasper Meiklejohn. Tia Meuller received honourable mention in Senior Speech Arts as did  Tai Duong in Intermediate Shakespeare. Mariah Gauthier of  received the runnerup prize in Junior Vocal Variety. All of these students are from Penticton.

Kelowna’s Desirée Bortolussi, who was representing Penticton won in Ballet III. She has earned an apprenticeship with Ballet Kelowna that starts in August.