Music Students Deliver Shine in Showcase Concert Series

March 4, 2024
2024 Year End Showcase Concert Series

Ever wondered what your favourite artist sounded like at the very beginning of their career? Here’s your chance to catch stellar emerging talent at the annual Year End Showcase Concert Series presented by students in Selkirk College’s Contemporary Music & Technology Program.

A March tradition on Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus, the 2024 concert series features seven nights of live entertainment on the Shambhala Music & Performance Hall stage between March 14 and April 5. Criss-crossing an assortment of genres, a total 14 graduating students and their bands of peers will present unique music offerings at the intimate venue.

“So much of what we do is to prepare for the world of live performance,” says Jillian McKenna, a music industry veteran and member of the program’s faculty team. “Whether you are the sound tech, the composer or the drummer, live performance happens in the moment and then it’s gone. The exciting opportunity of these graduation showcases is for these students to put all of their learning into practice. It's an incredibly exhilarating experience that is almost impossible to replicate in the classroom.”

An important element of program outcomes, each student is required to put an individual show together from concept to when the stage lights dim. Students write the songs or develop the arrangement for cover songs, pull the band together, consult with peers on lighting and sound, promote the show and make it happen on the night of their performance. It’s the ultimate test of the two-year program and the community is invited to see the results.

Hitting the Right Notes on Future Directions

Sera Kate arrived to the Tenth Street Campus from her home in Prince Rupert with a mission to immerse herself into a music education. Straight out of high school, Kate’s skills and understanding has blossomed in a community where creativity flourishes.  

“Getting hands-on experience from instructors who have been in the industry is so valuable,” says the 19-year-old. “Having a structured environment where they are able to pass on what they know is helping me figure out where I want to go with music.”

Music student Sera Kate for 2024 Showcase Concert Series
A second-year student in the Contemporary Music & Technology Program, Sera Kate is one of 14 graduating students who will be performing during the Year End Showcase Concert Series that takes place at the Shambhala Music & Performance Hall on Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus between March 15 and April 5.

With a mom who is a classically trained pianist, Kate jokes that she came out of the womb knowing how to play. A multi-talented artist, she spent much of her youth in various outlets that included competitive dance, performing in local musicals, painting and crafting. 

Music has always been a constant for Kate. She started with piano as a small child, but by the time she reached junior high decided to pick up the trumpet for school band. In Grade 10, she switched to flute and also returned to piano. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and gatherings were limited, she started exploring film scoring and composing which both fit her talents as a multi-instrumentalist.

Kate has made the most of her college experience, expanding both her chops and her opportunities. With a classmate, she now performs in the indie pop duo Oona & Anna where they are already booking shows into the summer. Hoping to continue her formal training, Kate has also earned an interview with the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“Being exposed to so many genres, the guidance from instructors and backgrounds from my peers, it has helped me gain such a better understanding of the music industry overall,” says Kate.

As a composition major, Kate’s Year End Showcase Concert Series set will consist entirely of original music. Her eclectic half-hour performance will feature three videos paired to compositions that highlight her film scoring and electronic music talents, a piano solo, and two pop/disco songs with her peer band.     

“Testing my limits and challenging myself, it’s sometimes difficult,” Kate says in the lead-up to her March 21 show. “But I love it… it makes me better and it’s a lot of fun.”

Pick a Show or Pick a Few

Each night of the Year End Showcase Concert Series features two graduating students, each putting on a 30-minute set. The schedule, genres and performers are as follows:

Doors open at 7 pm with the show starting at 7:30 pm. Admission is by donation. 

“Music fans have the opportunity to see the next generation of artists as they emerge into their careers as professionals,” says McKenna, herself an active touring musician. “This series of shows is one of the most varied in terms of genre and aesthetic, and you are sure to find something you love. I encourage everyone to come hear some of these incredibly talented artists.”

Learn more about programs in Selkirk College's School of the Arts.

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