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Transcona school shreds for Music Monday

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The 33 participating students in College Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau's inaugural Shredfest, held May 6, are shown with instructors Derek Gottfried of Harlequin, Keith MacPherson of Keith and Renee, and Darryl Torchia of Mercy, Mercy.

PHOTO BY SUSAN LISOWAY Enlarge Image

The 33 participating students in College Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau's inaugural Shredfest, held May 6, are shown with instructors Derek Gottfried of Harlequin, Keith MacPherson of Keith and Renee, and Darryl Torchia of Mercy, Mercy. Photo Store

Despite the best efforts of students, Collège Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau’s roof was still in place after May 6.

Music teacher Brady Gill organized the inaugural Shrédfest 2013 at the school in honour of Music Monday.

As part of the day, 33 students from eight area schools participated in workshops with Harlequin rocker Derrick Gottfried, Keith Macpherson of folk duo Keith and Renée, and Mercy, Mercy bluesman Darryl Torchia.

Gill said the school has its share of guitar players, but unlike some other schools, it does not have a guitar program. He knows Gottfried personally, while Grade 11 student Gord Torchia invited his grandfather to come.

The younger Torchia, a 16-year-old Point Douglas resident, has been playing since he was four, and currently plays in a psychedelic groove band tentatively called Sequoia’s Daydream, while he also writes some acoustic solo material.

"I hope to have an indie record deal someday and get slightly paid," he said. "I’m not looking to be extremely rich or a millionaire, but I want to make music because it’s my favourite thing."

Gill said they made an effort to have several different styles of guitar-driven music available to students.

"I wanted to offer the kids something I couldn’t offer them in the context of what we do," he said. "Once Darryl and Derek were on board, I said if we could get a folk person, or a singer-songwriter, then we could get the three different genres — blues, rock, and singer-songwriter," he said.

"(Students) all got the thing they were familiar with, and then two others they weren’t familiar with."

Each student who took part attended three 50-minute sessions before the day culminated in a jam session.

"It was good for us to all come together at the end and have a bit of fun," said Torchia of the jam. "People that learn stuff from the sessions could apply stuff at the jam."

In the session with Macpherson, each group wrote part of a song, and the three parts were put together at the end of the day. The musicians then played the song, titled Winterpeg Summertime, and recorded it on Macpherson’s iPhone.

As well, Long and McQuade provided some instruments and gear for the players to experiment with during a break in the action.

Gill said participants came from a wide variety of skill levels, but he hopes everyone who came was able to take something from the day.

"It can be such a solitary thing, where somebody plays guitar in their basement for 10 years and nobody ever knows," said Gill. "To be able to do it with other people, that’s our thing here."

Gill said students are now talking about forming a guitar club at the school.

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