HCA invited to prestigious music festival in Netherlands

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Photo by Rob Olson Photography

The young, talented musicians from Heritage Christian Academy’s decorated music program have been invited to perform at a prestigious international festival.

The senior band, senior choir, vocal jazz and jazz band will participate in the Netherlands Festival of Music in early April 2015. Heritage Christian Academy is one of just 15 schools from across North American to be invited.

Principal Ryan Brennan says news of the Netherlands invitation was shared with families who’d gathered Wednesday night to discuss this spring’s trip to the WorldStrides Heritage Performance Orlando Music Festival in Florida. The response was overwhelming as students and parents learned about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he says.

World-class venues and adjudication

“It’s unbelievable,” Brennan says, adding many families at the school have Dutch heritage and all are thrilled at the opportunity to visit the Netherlands.

Johan de Meij, of “Lord of the Rings” fame, serves as the festival’s artistic director and head clinician. The festival is held at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, home of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to participation in the festival, HCA students will perform at many beautiful venues, taking part in an Easter Service at a famous Amsterdam church or a recital at world-famous Kuekenhof Gardens, which is known for its tulip arrangements. Students are also expected to have opportunities to tour Amsterdam, including Anne Frank's house, as well as Canadian military sites, memorials and cemeteries from the Second World War.

Top prize in Vancouver caught international festival's eyes

Heritage’s excellent results at previous national and international festivals likely paved the way for this invitation. In 2012, Heritage Christian won the aggregate trophy, the top award, for the excellent work of its jazz, band and choir performers at a music festival in Vancouver.

The music program at Heritage has a high participation rate. There are about 75 students, just over half of the high school population, participating in the Orlando trip in late April and early May this year, and by the time the bags are packed for the Netherlands event, Brennan says he expects a contingent of about 100 talented musicians and vocalists will be onboard.

“Our music program is huge,” Brennan says. “Just like our athletics and missions programs, music contributes to the development of the whole student. It’s a way to demonstrate skills and abilities they’ve been blessed with.”

He says students who are just starting in band and choir at Grade 6 look in awe at the talent of the high school students during concerts, and then three years later, those same students are the ones who are shining on stage.

Congratulations to Heritage music teacher Torri Airhart and all the talented students of HCA on this incredible opportunity and honour .

For a link to a video about the festival, please visit Heritage Christian’s website here.