They have yet to hit junior high, but a group of 185 Ecole Laura Secord students already have a recording credit under their belts.
In December, the Wolseley school released A Century of Song, a keepsake album created by the school’s choir to celebrate the school’s 100th anniversary last year.
"There’s a real culture of singing at the school and it’s good to celebrate that," said Larry Weckwerth, a Wolseley resident who has taught music in the Winnipeg School Division since 1984.
"We thought it was a nice addition to the various things we were planning for the 100th anniversary."
Undertaken on the suggestion of school parents, the CD was recorded in the school’s gymnasium last May. The album’s 15 tracks, recorded in multiple takes over two hours, represent a small sample of the repertoire the choir has been rehearsing and honing for three years.
"To go back and see the accomplishment, it’s a wonderful gift, the convergence of people coming together and volunteering to make this happen," Weckwerth said, noting parents were involved in the album’s production.
From the Hebrew-based Al Shlosha D’Varim to the African folk song Obwisana to the Navajo Hozhonji song, the album covers music from the early 1800s to the late 1990s.
The songs reflect the diversity that can be found walking the school’s hallways, Grade 6 student Frances Butterfield said.
"I think it says that we have a lot of different cultures and languages," said Butterfield, who lives in Armstrong’s Point.
Weckwerth, admitting the school spent countless hours tracking down the songs’ copyrights, wanted the disc to cover a broad spectrum of music.
"There’s a certain level of quality to the music. I’d rather work on a song a little more challenging than a song more superficial and representative of where music is at right now in pop culture," he said.
"I’m surprised how well the kids have taken to it."
For Butterfield, who will be leaving Laura Secord at the end of the school year, the album is a memento she’ll carry with her.
"When I get older and look back on things, I’ll have this recording and remember how much fun it was," she said.
The choir will compete in the Winnipeg Music Festival at the Westminster Church in February, and is rehearsing for its upcoming musical production, Rats! The Story of the Pied Piper, in late March.
The CD can be purchased from the school for a $10 donation to cover the costs of its production.
For more, contact the school at 204-786-4796 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.