The 15th Summer School for the Solo Voice wrapped up at Third Avenue United Church Saturday.
With 78 participants, the week long school offered instruction and encouragement in everything from jazz to opera, solo and choral singing to music history, theory and career development.
It's an annual event that attracts students from throughout Canada and staff from throughout the world, founded by famed mezzo-soprano Lisa Hornung of North Battleford.
It's important the sponsors and supporters know they make a difference in making the international event possible in this community, said Hornung last week.
"Thank you for your support of the arts," she said. "It makes a difference."
Mark Turner, as MC of the final in a series of recitals by school staff and students, said Saturday the team who puts on SSSV could not do it without its list of corporate and individual supporters.
"I know that because I run an arts organization and in the present climate it's incredibly difficult to get proper funding for the arts." he said. "It's very important to pay professionals, rental spaces, caterers, all of the people involved in the production of a school like this what they are valued at. Without the support of this community this week would not happen."
In addition, said Turner, it brought more than 100 people into the city.
"We've all been buying and sharing our abilities in the community, which has had such incredible economic impact."
He urged the audience to make their appreciation known to the sponsors.
"If you know any person on this list, or if you know any of the businesses on this list ... this is your opportunity to go thank them," he said. "Without these types of support, the arts would not happen, and the arts is more than just people who like to sing."
He said, "It's what creates communities, it's what involves entire groups of people in equal opportunities to be creative, expressive, intelligent, thoughtful and eventually become incredible members of society."
He also offered thanks to the team that worked throughout the summer school, especially Hornung.
"It's been busy and warm and fantastic," he said.
According to Laurence Ewashko, director of the choirs for this year's Summer School of the Solo Voice, is a total of 21 things go on in the process of singing.
"Talk about multi tasking!" he said at Saturday's final concert of the summer school at Third Avenue United Church.
Calling for an end to cuts in funding for the arts in schools, he said, "I have decided to not be silent any more. I am writing to my politicians to say you cannot do this, you cannot stop music in the schools, you cannot stop supporting the arts, because it's such an important aspect for the health of humanity."
The joy students get from being able to sing, and the joy their audiences receive, "these are all gifts that need to be maintained," said Ewashko.
Ewashko is among many staff members who return year after year to the Summer School for the Solo Voice. He is a former director of the Vienna Boys Choir and is currently associate professor of choral studies at the University of Ottawa. This is his third year with SSSV.
The summer school is a diamond in the west, he said, and an opportunity for its participants to gather knowledge, take it home with them and share it with others.
"It's been a great pleasure for me to be able to work with them."
This year's staff was made up of Hornung, Ewashko, Chris Kelly, Naomi Suchan, Paul Suchan, Jaya Hoy, Geoffrey Pratley, Karen Charlton, Dr. Laura Loewen, Joy McFarlane-Burton, Mark Turner, Heather Macnab, Bernadette Fanner, Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber and Dr. Rick Gore-Hickman who teaches classes each year on the health and care of the vocal instrument.