Monday 16 April 2012

St. George's impressive at Show Choir Canada

The lone Quebec representative in the prestigious Show Choir Canada National championships at the Sony Centre for the Arts in Toronto made a pretty impressive showing. St. George’s School of Montreal made it to the coveted top six finalists. Not only did St. George’s finish fifth overall, but team members took home three of the seven individual awards: Patrick Park was presented with the best male vocalist while Sara Diamond and Alexandra Cohen tied for the top female triple threat performer.
Jim  Welter from Yamaha with Olivia Kostin Cohen, Patrick Park,  Candace Grynol, Alexandra Cohen and Sara Diamond from St. George's.

Known as G. Major, St. George’s was the only non-Ontario entry. SPLASH from Etobicoke School of the Arts captured first place followed by defending champs Wexford Gleeks of Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts (Scarborough), SPSC from St. Peter Catholic High School (Orleans), Synergy from Unionville High School (Markham), St. George’s and Cheat Notes from York Mills Collegiate Institute.  There were 13 teams entered.

Here G Major performs Jump:

G. Major, which has its end of year concerts set for   May 10 and 11 at the Oscar Peterson Hall, won the 2010 Just for Kids Foundation Glee Showdown and came in second in the 2011 edition. Candace Grynol, the school’s head of performing arts, deserves a lot of credit. Not only is G. Major her baby, she spent the past year working with her team even though she is still on maternity leave after having her second child.  Aaron Stamboulieh, who by day is the school’s head of information technology, played an important role too as Grynol’s right hand man.

“Our goal was to make it into the top six” says Ms. Grynol. “The fact that we actually placed 5th was unbelievable given that many of the teams we were competing against were performing arts schools.”
Added Stamboulieh: “The relationships and bonds that happened naturally between all the schools almost makes the competition aspect secondary. Our students cheering for their competitors and receiving a huge ovation in return is something that none of them will ever forget, and that’s what made this experience so special for all involved.”

This was the second annual Show Choir Canada and there is no question the event will continue to grow. Organizers told me that television executives were in the audience and by the time the 2013 edition rolls around this could be the subject of a network documentary or reality series.

Toronto native and Juno Award-winning performer Shawn Desman, who served as a judge last year at the inaugural competition, did a superb job as master of ceremonies. He also delighted the audience of 1,000 strong with a solo performance on closing night.

The audience had a real treat with nationally ranked U.S. show choir, In Sync, from Burbank High School in California, performing outside of the official competition. They were amazing and we were told that this program was the inspiration for the Fox TV program Glee. Montreal educator and vocalist Jeri Brown was part of the judging panel.

Choirs that place first to sixth were awarded trophies and prizes totalling over $25,000. St. George’s will receive a Yamaha product valued at $1,500. The school’s  three award winners will each receive one-week scholarships to the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, valued at $1,000.

St. George’s had a well rounded set of about 20 minutes, which included routines to the tunes of Jump, You Can’t Stop the Beat, Happy Ending, One from a Chorus Line, a U2 medley and Unwritten.

“It is so great to see happy you are,” commented judge David Connolly, a professional director/choreographer. “The individual voices we heard stuck with us. You also showcased a nice variety, from Broadway to pop.”

“You had so much energy,” added Brown.

Show Choir Canada was developed in collaboration with Peter da Costa, Owner/Agency Director, da Costa Talent Management and George Randolph, President/Founder, Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts.   For more information go to

Here are the Wexford Gleeks on stage:


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