Eighty students in this year's Summer School for the Solo Voice's program came from across Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and even Pennsylvania.
The 18th annual school wrapped up Sunday after a week of intense learning for singers, accompanists, teachers and choral conductors, along with opportunities for performance.
Founder Lisa Hornung says, "Every year Summer School for the Solo voice amazes me. The breadth and depth of talent and potential that comes from across Canada, the United States and abroad is astounding."
Summer School for the Solo Voice is a non-auditioned program open to participants aged eight and older, regardless of experience.
"Though very diverse in age and experience, the students' respect for and support of each other made for a wonderfully safe and encouraging place to learn and try new things," she says.
Over the years, SSSV has grown to accommodate a wide range of ages and abilities by employing highly qualified instructors who excel both as teachers and as performers. Collectively, these instructors offer three to eight classes simultaneously.
"This year's staff proved to be an especially strong and cohesive team – we all had a great time working together," says Hornung. "And the addition of John Reid Coulter? Fantastic!"
The piano and harpsichord musician, builder and historian from South Africa was at SSSV for the first time.
"What a magnificent musician, teacher and human being," says Hornung. "He brought a wealth of knowledge to the student body and much-needed and appreciated professional development to the staff."
The school's performances concluded Saturday with a presentation by the SSSV choir, featuring most of the students and staff as well.
It was conducted by Dr Laurence Ewashko of Ottawa, Ont., former director of the Vienna Boys Choir.
"Laurence is a musical magician," says Hornung. "He took singers aged eight to 82 from beginner to professional levels, created a magnificent choral instrument and played it like a master."
In addition to Ewashko and Hornung, honoured as one of the University of Saskatchewan's Arts and Science Alumni of Influence, this year's faculty included: local dramatist Roy Challis; Mark Turner, the executive director of the Saskatoon Symphony; mezzo soprano Bonnie Cutsforth-Huber, formerly of Maidstone now of Pennsylvania; Chris Kelly, sessional lecturer with the University of Saskatchewan; long-time teachers Joy McFarlane Burton and Bernadette Fanner; speech arts teacher Heather Mcnab; laryngologist Dr. Rich Gore-Hickman; and jazz team Paul Suchan and Naomi Piggot Suchan.
As always, local accompanist Gary Gansauge was on board and organizer extraordinaire Jaki Esquirol helped keep things on track.
SSSV is made possible by supporters of the arts in the community.
"I am humbled and sincerely grateful for the incredible amount of community support SSSV has received in the form of audience members for the recital series, financial, in kind and time donations," says Hornung. "An international program of this magnitude is a great testament to the people and businesses of the Battlefords and their support of the arts"
This, she says, is "just one more reason I am so proud to live in the Battlefords."