Musician/singer/dancer Kelli Trottier worked with students throughout the day to help enhance their performance leading up to the Saturday evening showcase concert.

ST. PETER’S: The team behind the annual Music Camp on the Canal offered a twist this year with a one-day workshop designed to help already-accomplished young musicians fine tune their performance skills.

Participants were assigned to one of six bands and tasked with preparing a song for an all-star concert, with help from their designated coach. The musician faculty – Keith Mullins, Allie Bennett, Scott Macmillan, Colin Grant, Kelli Trottier, and Brian Doyle – each mentored a band and offered advice on performance craft, as well as practical tips. Other sessions focused on percussion and choreography. The day’s events took place at East Richmond Education Centre, while the evening concert was staged at the St. Peter’s Lions Hall.

Photos by Dana MacPhail-Touesnard
The band calling itself “Storytellers” performed George Jones/Tammy Wynette classic “Two Story” (not storey, in this case) house during the “Bandemonium” all-star concert on Saturday in St. Peter’s.

Music Director Rob Woodley says the inspiration for Bandemonium came to him after attending a jam session featuring an entertaining performer who lacked proficiency followed by a skilled musician who failed to engage with her audience.

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“So if you put together that guy’s presence with this girl’s talent you would have had an awesome performer. It just struck me that this is the difference between playing something and performing,” he said on Saturday, midway through the early part of the event.

Woodley added that many of the skills needed to effectively deliver a musical performance are transferable skills – be it for a job interview or a work-related presentation – and can only serve to benefit the students.

Scott Macmillan (right) stops in to hear the progress of “Moats and Boats,” under the direction of mentor Colin Grant, in St. Peter’s on Saturday.

Keira Landry, 13, speaks highly of the Music Camp on the Canal – which she attended twice – and says she also enjoyed the more condensed schedule of Bandemonium, the newest venture of the St. Peter’s-based Kitchen Rackets Organization.

“This year we only had one day but I think it was a lot more fun because it made us a little more pressured to practice more and it was awesome.”

Landry, who plays ukulele and guitar, also performed as a dancer during the Saturday evening all-star concert.

Musician Keith Mullins and his group of students put a Cape Breton spin on the Avicci song “Wake Me Up,” and says he takes great joy in guiding and encouraging young musicians in the direction they are already heading.

“It’s so inspiring and I had a seriously talented group of students so I feel very fortunate to be able to work with them and help them out.”

Mullins has worked with the event organizers at the Music Camp on the Canal in the past before joining the Bandemonium faculty and says he would “absolutely’ do so again, “with bells on.”

Keith Mullins mentored the group known as “Cape Bretonification” which featured Morgan Wilson (not pictured), Erin MacLellan (at keyboard), as well as vocalists/dancers Hope Deveau (left) and Abigail Hache, who travelled from Cheticamp to take part in “Bandemonium” in St. Peter’s on June 2.

Woodley said the Kitchen Rackets Organization is grateful for the financial and volunteer support of the community on the latest venture and the six previous music camp events.

Next year, Woodley said the organization hopes to host both the Music Camp on the Canal and Bandemonium, with the latter hopefully moving to the fall to coincide with Celtic Colours so the students can learn from watching a variety of performance styles.

For more information on Bandemonium or other projects of the Kitchen Rackets Organization, visit: www.kitchenrackets.org.