Squamish kids shine at provincial performing arts competition

Lucy Gill garnered first place in Junior Classical Voice while Sonoma Brawley was a finalist in Junior Musical Theatre

Squamish performers made their mark on Chilliwack recently during the BC Performing Arts Provincials Festival.

The five-day festival, held the last week of May, is the finale of the B.C. festival circuit where the best young performers from each regional festival compete and can participate in adjudicated sessions, master classes, coaching, workshops, and more.

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Squamish's Lucy Gill garnered first place in Junior Classical Voice while Sonoma Brawley was a finalist in Junior Musical Theatre.

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Lucy Gill. - Submitted photo

Another Squamish provincial finalist was Morgan Brown in Intermediate Classical Voice.

"I feel like when I go on stage, the adrenaline of performing and the excitement and the enjoyment of being up there kind of takes over, almost and it is a surreal experience," said Gill. "I think that performing is like nothing else. It is total freedom, you aren't worried about anything. It is a wonderful feeling."

She said she felt good about her voice when she was competing, but having gone to provincials three times previously and never placed, winning this time was a shock.

"I was shaking," she said. "It was only when I got back home that I realized I placed first. I didn't really realize or think about it until a while afterward."

Brawley said whenever she performs musical theatre, she tries to forget everything else going on in her life and focus on being in character.

At provincials, she performed one song as Ella from The Apple Tree where the character starts off as a chimney sweep and then gets magically transforms into a movie star. The second song was as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

"I always invest a lot of time in my character study to make sure when I am up on stage, I don't even have to think about being in character. I just know everything about it and really feel like I am in my character."

Brawley said provincial competition was "intense" and she was tired after, but happy to have been a finalist.

Both girls are in Grade 9 at Don Ross Middle school and study, like all those who attended the festival from Squamish, with Melissa Braun at Squamish Academy of Music.

Gill has several local performances coming up and is attending a Vancouver Symphony Orchestra camp this summer. Brawley too will be performing in upcoming Squamish Academy of Music recitals and attending the Broadway or Bust Performing Arts summer camp. In August, Gill and Brawley are both heading to Stratford, Ontario for a musical theatre intensive course.

This year's merited participants at the BC Performing Arts Provincials Festival, also from Squamish, included:

Jon Gill in Intermediate Piano; Madison Blackman and Shannon Moran in Intermediate Voice; Zora Jajic and Evie Jordan in Junior Voice.

Squamish's Katie Moran participated in Junior Voice.

Almost all of the students from Squamish qualified through the Howe Sound Music Festival, produced by The Howe Sound Performing Arts Association. Madison Blackman qualified through the Vancouver Kiwanis Festival.

*Please note, this story has been updated since it was first posted to correct the spelling of Zora Jajic's name.

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