Hundreds volunteer for Junos

Dave Bartlett
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More than 50 CNA students join the ranks

A vacant downtown office was alive again this week, as it was transformed into the volunteer centre for the Juno week celebrations.

An estimated 600 people are volunteering their time behind the scenes to make sure the national event goes off without a hitch.

College of the North Atlantic recording arts student Andrew Gagne (left) hams it up after he and instructor Scott Hammond talked to The Telegram about volunteering at the Junos. - Photo by Dave Bartlett/The Telegram

A vacant downtown office was alive again this week, as it was transformed into the volunteer centre for the Juno week celebrations.

An estimated 600 people are volunteering their time behind the scenes to make sure the national event goes off without a hitch.

Chris Hollett and Steph Matthews are College of the North Atlantic (CNA) students in the hospitality tourism management program at the St. John's campus and were working the front desk of the centre when The Telegram stopped by Thursday morning.

In fact, more than 50 students in six different programs have been helping out in various ways.

Though volunteering is part of their program, Hollett sums up the experience this way:

"What better event to volunteer for than the Junos?" he said.

"I was on information booths earlier in the week," Hollett continued. "I did the Juno Fan Fare yesterday and I'll be doing that again Saturday."

"I'm (working) the Juno Cup on Friday," said Matthews. "I get to see a hockey game, that's what I'm excited about."

The Juno Cup will pit former NHL greats against Canadian musicians.

Neither of them have met anyone famous yet.

"That's what Friday and Saturday are for," said Matthews.

She said the best part of the gig so far is seeing what others don't get to see.

"It's kind of an experience just to see what goes on behind the scenes here," said Matthews.

Hollett said the experience will also help them after graduation.

"To have this experience working with bigger names and stuff, you (get to) know how to act around them. You don't have to be all star struck," he said.

Across town at the Super 8 hotel, Andrew Gagne from Labrador City, who is studying recording arts at CNA's Stephenville campus, is taking a few moments to relax.

He and his fellow students have been setting up lighting, sound systems and other gear for concerts and other events, sometimes well into the wee hours of the morning.

"We've been setting up big venues for, like, Alexis On Fire at The Delta," he said. "It's cool how organized everybody is, and everyone just kind of goes to their task and gets it done."

Scott Hammond is the instructor of the recording arts program, and has been teaching at CNA for four years.

"Last year we did an event with the ECMAs," he said.

"(But) it's a great opportunity to work on basically the biggest show in Canada," Hammond said.

Besides giving the students some experience working in their fields of study, Hammond said he also hopes the Junos may help raise the profile of the courses offered at the Stephenville campus - everything from journalism to video game design.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: CNA, NHL, Super 8 hotel The Delta

Geographic location: St. John's, Stephenville, Labrador Canada

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