I was very fortunate to grow up in the cultural hub of Newfoundland for its music. I grew up a stone’s throw away from live music venues, theatres and arenas. While I do not have a musical bone in my body, my love of music started at a young age.
Bishop Abraham Elementary brought me a kind-hearted and passionate music teacher, Mrs. Donna Winsor. She went beyond sending her students home with a recorder to torture our parents; she exposed us to music from all genres and origins.
It must’ve been a mixture of excitement from seeing live music for the first time and the fact that these were the most dreamy boys I had ever laid eyes on, but I fell in love with the band as a whole.
One particular lesson from sixth grade has stuck with me to this day. Mrs. Winsor heard through a coworker that their nephew's band was having troubles with their tour van and needed some extra cash. She jumped at the chance to support them and expose her students to an up-and-coming local band. She hired Hey Rosetta! to come play for our class. They set up on the floor as we all piled in and sat in the bleachers.
It must’ve been a mixture of excitement from seeing live music for the first time and the fact that these were the most dreamy boys I had ever laid eyes on, but I fell in love with the band as a whole. After they finished their set they teamed up with Mrs. Winsor and asked us questions about music. We had been learning scales that week and I was well versed so I raised my hand. I got the question correct and my reward was a free copy of their demo CD. I obsessively listened to it for years after. I still have it.
Years later, I saw a poster at my high school theatre that Hey Rosetta! was going to be playing a 19-plus show in a few weeks. Unfortunately, I was not yet of age to attend. I had to get creative. I racked my brain to think of how I could make it to the event. Then it came to me! I took a part-time position cleaning the theatre and dressing rooms and had my in. I got to attend what remains my favourite concert to this day. Me and my older sister Kim went the first night. They had hula hoops strung across the ceiling. As soon as the music started, everyone abandoned their seats and pushed to the front of the theatre and we danced the night away. For the last song, Hey Rosetta! called the opening acts and all the other musicians on stage with them as they sang my personal favourite, “A Thousand Suns.” I left the theatre with an overwhelming warm feeling that carried for days.
Last week, my love of the band went full circle as I attended their last show. By now their fame is immeasurable and they sold out not one, not two, but three shows! Myself and my friends bought floor tickets and made our way to the front. The entire arena chanted their name “Hey Rosetta!” in unison followed by five claps. Halfway through the show, my partner became faint. Security took us backstage to get him some medical attention. We sat on the floor behind the stage until the paramedics got there. By then he felt fine and was apologizing profusely for making me miss the show. I assured him we would have paid top dollar to get backstage, and all that mattered was his health. Security then ushered us back out into the crowd just in time for the encore, where for the last time, I heard my favourite band play my favourite song, “A Thousand Suns.”
They stood in line, teary eyed, and took one last bow to their fans.
I want to thank them so much for singing to my soul, providing the upmost of entertainment, helping me through heartbreak, being the soundtrack of many shed parties, and making such a strong vision and positive representation of Newfoundland. Hey Rosetta! truly showcases the talent that comes from our little province. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Tim Baker, Josh Ward, Adam Hogan, Phil Maloney, Kinley Dowling and Romesh Thavanathan.