Music, arts come alive at Labrador festival

Bonnie Learning
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The 38th Labrador Creative Arts Festival got off to a great start last week, as Labrador students got up close and personal with visiting artists.

Profressional bass clarinet player Krista Martynes of Montreal plays classical tunes for some students.

The festival — which featured not only visiting artists, but original productions by Labrador students at the Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre — wraps up Sunday.

On Wednesday, students at Queen of Peace Middle School in Happy Valley-Goose Bay got a taste of the arts with some special guests.

Krista Martynes — a Montreal-based musician — spent some time with classes 401 and 405 to show them her talent with the bass clarinet. She fielded questions from the students and played several pieces of music.

Martynes was invited to attend the festival last year.

“I was playing a showcase in Fredericton, N.B., and someone associated with the Labrador Creative Arts Festival approach­ed me to attend this year’s festival,” said Martynes. “I said yes.”

Another visiting musician, violinist Scott Duncan of Calgary, showcased his musical talent to Class 603, playing a variety of styles, including bluegrass, classical, and jigs and reels.

Duncan told the class he started playing the classical violin at five years old, moved on to all fiddle styles at the age of eight, and has been touring as a professional violin player since the age of 11.

“That’s my life. I travel and play and share my knowledge,” he told the students.

He said he wrote his first song at age 15.

“I wrote and played a waltz for my grandparents’ anniversary,” Duncan said, before playing the “Grandpa and Grandma Waltz” for the students.

After his session, Duncan was swamped with eager autograph seekers, including student Eric Jacque.

“He was the best performer I have ever seen!” gushed Eric.

“Teaching students (about violin) scares the beejeepers out of me, but these kids are so nice,” smiled Duncan.

‘So impressed’

Nicola Hawkins is a visual artist and dancer from Admiral’s Cove on the Avalon Peninsula.

She was teaching Class 502 about mask-making and showing the kids how to make their own special masks.

This was her first time attending the festival.

“This is a child-centred festival and that is why I am here,” Hawkins said as she moved about the room to speak with the students.

“I am thrilled to be here and I am so impressed with how the students are focused on their work and take direction so well. It’s fantastic.”

The festival featured a full week of events.

Tonight, Queen of Peace Middle School and B.L. Morrison School of Postville perform at the Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre, and Sunday night wraps up with a performance by Lake Melville School from North West River, as well as festival presentations.

All performances begin at 7 p.m., with an admission fee of $5.

The Labradorian

Organizations: Lawrence O’Brien Arts Centre, Peace Middle School, B.L. Morrison School of Postville Lake Melville School

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay, Fredericton Calgary North West River

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