On the special day, back row, from left, Carol Jarvie (teacher of Chloe), Dr. Peter Simon (President Royal Conservatory), Holly Collis Handford, Iris Cooke-Chislett (teacher of Caleb, Priya and Holly), and in front, Priya, Chloe, and Caleb. (Submitted)

Column: Awards, holiday fun and all that jazz

You may have noted in passing that I use the words “red-letter day” in my stories now and then.

You may have noted in passing that I use the words “red-letter day” in my stories now and then.

The phrase, which nowadays means a special day, has a long history, but came into common use in English centuries ago when the first Book of Common Prayer was printed. Readers would find therein that holy days, which we call holidays now, were printed with red ink. It wasn’t long before they were widely known as red-letter days.

I am actually old enough to remember seeing prayer books, missals, and personal calendars that used red lettering for such special days. The idea hung on, at least into my childhood.

***

We’ve been talking a lot about talented music students lately and Trisha Daniell had something to share as well.

“This year, out of 11 eligible grade levels, four local singers are celebrating achieving the highest marks in the province. Priya and Caleb Dhami, Chloe Pyne-Mercier, and Holly Collis Handford were each recognized in the Royal Conservatory of Music’s 2017 Vancouver Convocation ceremony held in November at the Chan Centre.

“The Toronto based RCM is one of the largest and most respected music education institutions in the world, let alone Canada. Over the past decade alone, 235,000 students in British Columbia have participated in the conservatory’s programs whose alumni include Randy Bachman, David Foster, Nelly Furtado, Diana Krall, and Sarah McLachlan,” Daniell says.

A Gold Medal recognizes the top mark received for each grade. They are awarded provincially for each instrument, including voice.

“Priya and Chloe, each from Shawnigan Lake, shared the honour for Grade 1 Voice. Priya’s elder brother, Caleb, also received his first medal — his awarded for Grade 2 Voice. Cobble Hill resident Holly Collis Handford received the medal for Grade 10 Voice, her third provincial recognition from the Conservatory.

Not surprisingly, teachers Iris Cooke Chislett and Carol Jarvie were thrilled for their students, both attending the ceremony to celebrate with the singers.

“It is enormously satisfying to see a young person receive recognition for their devotion and dedication to their development as a musician. An examination result represents a year of focused work and careful preparation from the students and the family members supporting them,” Cooke Chislett said after the event.

Jarvie, Pyne-Mercier’s teacher, said, “I am very proud of Chloe and couldn’t be happier for these hard-working students’ success.”

***

And on Dec. 2, make your way to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre for Christmas and the Holiday Season by the Celtic Rhythm Dancers and the Summit Dance School.

There’s always plenty to enjoy, including lots of holiday fun and also some really traditional Christmas numbers.

It’s a joyous show, fun for the whole family. With selections such as ‘Frosty’, ‘I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas’, ‘Run, Run Rudolph’, ‘I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day’, and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, all ages will find something to hum along with as they leave smiling.

Showtime is 7 p.m. Adults get in for $15 each while kids pay $12. Contact cowichanpac.ca online and book those seats now.

***

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council presents The Art of Gingerbread from Dec. 8-20, with a special preview Friday, Dec. 8 from 7-9 p.m.

Cookie decorating workshops will be held on Dec. 9 and Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entry is by donation.

It all takes place in the Arbutus Gallery, next to Portals in the Island Savings Centre. You can also vote by donation for your favourite creation.

There’s no canvas and paint in this art show. Instead they are challenging local businesses and groups to use gingerbread as the creative medium. The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is launching its first gingerbread show as a fundraiser for its children’s programs. Gingerbread creations will have an artistic theme, inspired by famous artists, music, movies or children’s stories. If Picasso made gingerbread, what would the result look like?



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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