For the first time since they began competing in the Barrhead Rotary Music Festival, the Swan Hills School Handbell Group was able to give a live performance in front of the festival’s adjudicator. The handbell group first participated in the festival two years ago, in 2021, earning a high silver award for their debut performance. With a lot of hard work and practice, the group took home a gold award at last year’s festival. The students had submitted video recordings of their performances for their entries in the 2021 and 2022 festivals because live performances were not possible due to the public health restrictions in place at those points in time. 

Led by Coach Brenda Kuyek, Elementary Music Teacher at the Swan Hills School, the Swan Hills Handbell Group is comprised of students from grades 4, 5, and 6. This year former handbell group members, now in Junior High, assisted the group with counting and direction. The group performed two songs for the festival, “Twas In The Moon Of Wintertime” and “With Great Joy.” The performance was well-received, with the group scoring 84% for a silver award. The adjudicator gave feedback afterwards, saying that the group did well, maintaining a steady pulse throughout the songs. She also noted that the harmony bells were well coordinated and that the whole group demonstrated excellent focused attention throughout the numbers.

According to Coach Kuyek, the group would not have been able to perform live this year without volunteer drivers and the use of a bus to transport the students to the festival venue in Barrhead. The entire group is very thankful for the people who took the time to drive them to the festival and for the family who donated the use of their bus.

When asked about her thoughts about the Handbell Group’s music festival performance, Coach Kuyek said, “I am just so incredibly proud of the whole ensemble and the focused range of students from grades four to seven. Once again, the ensemble did the Swan Hills School proud.”

Congratulations to the Swan Hills School Handbell Group on another outstanding performance!

By Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 29, 2023