Saturday, Feb 23 at the Kelowna Community Theatre, the students from Wentworth Music will hit the stage for an epic tribute to the stars entitled ‘LEGACY – a Musical Celebration of our Lost Legends’. Prince, Tom Petty, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin and many more will be covered in a two hour rock production that will have everyone singing along.
“Our students love the chance to perform under conditions like this!” exclaims Noel Wentworth, Vice-President of Education at Wentworth Music. Complete with costume, full lighting, concert sound and colourful animated backgrounds, the Wentworth’s will also be celebrating another milestone: their 25th semi-annual production. “It’s what I dreamt of being a part of when I was a kid, to feel like a rock star up on stage in front of a huge audience!” explains Wentworth. It’s evident that dream is still alive and engaging the students of today with the shows now growing to nearly 300 students on stage over a 2 hour concert. “We have students as young as 6 all the way up to their late 70’s.”
The students learn about being part of a team, accountability and reaching a goal, but also about helping their community. As co-sponsor of this event for the past ten years, Interior Savings is proud of the impact the concerts are having in the community. “Not only is it a fun, family night out, but the idea that a community of musicians, spanning generations, are working together to raise money for a local cause is inspiring”, says Kathy Conway, CEO of Interior Savings. To date ,these productions have raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to help children through the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. And this year is no different with all proceeds being earmarked for KGH Foundation’s campaign for JoeAnna’s House, a home away from home for families while their children receive life-saving care.
Q & A WITH NOEL WENTWORTH
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: Tell me about your passion for music and creating shows of this scale.
NOEL: I have always had a passion for listening to music and separating all the various instruments in a recording to the finest detail. This eventually led me to learn Guitar and Bass, play in bands, go to music school and learn how to write and score music for all instruments, perform internationally and then start a music school. The whole reason I wanted to learn an instrument is because I wanted to be on a big stage, go out on tour and experience all the special effects, lighting, sound and screaming sold out audiences. It’s truly about the experience, a feeling of importance and being celebrated for a job well done. Why not give people just that?
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: Tell me the story of Wentworth Music. Where you started and how you’ve grown.
NOEL: Wentworth Music started in 1966. It’s a long story but we have evolved from being a lighting store with my father teaching Guitar out of the back to becoming a 3rd generation owned an operated music store with 4 locations. We have grown and shrunk and grown again. My wife Lora and I started the Wentworth Music Education Centre www.wmec.ca in 2004 with 88 students and a dream to do things a little differently. We wanted to focus on others experiences and provide opportunities that did’t exist for us. Because of this we have grown to nearly 1100 students this year in a city of 157,000 people. Most schools of our size have population bases that are A LOT bigger (usually over a million). It really isn’t about teaching music lessons for us, it’s understanding the reason and inspiration for why people want to learn an instrument in the first place. Give others what we wanted by providing goals that impact many.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: Congratulations on being voted one of the top 100 music schools and stores in the WORLD! What makes you this calibre?
NOEL: We understand you get what you give. It’s about others and their dreams, our community and the stories we constantly create. Someone told me once “When the goal in life is about the story, life is full of great things by design” . We truly believe that. We’ve donated nearly $250,000 to help children at the Kelowna General Hospital through our bi-annual rock concerts. All the while we’re creating something people won’t forget, connected our community, created an amazing lesson culture and given others a feeling of belonging. It’s what should have happened decades ago. We’ve been Voted Top 100 six years in a row. A few years ago though we made the Top 3 Finalists at the NAMM Top100 in Nashville, TN.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: Can you tell me about some of the students who have come out of your school and what they have accomplished?
NOEL: We were just talking about this last night. One of our students is now performing on Broadway in New York, a few others have gone on to touring Canada in their bands and winning major competitions. One of our current students just got a call back to audition for America’s got talent.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: What are you most proud of?
NOEL: I’m proud of all our students and teachers. The successes and obstacles they’ve all overcome on various levels to become what they and we are. It’s extended family! I’m most proud though of being able to say that we’ve done things that most only dream of. We’ve taken our students on trips to perform in New York, Singapore and did a 2 week tour of Australia. We’ve gotten contemporary music recognized and accredited by the BC Ministry of Education as being equal to classical studies through the program Rockschool out of the UK. And the money we’ve raised through doing what we love to do is just the icing on the cake. It’s a busy life but we’re honestly living the dream through what we give others and things we wanted for ourselves. I know it sounds like I’m playing it up but I really love my job. Great things happen by focusing your efforts on giving to others.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: What other dreams are you striving for with Wentworth Music?
NOEL: I’ve always got ideas. One day, I want to perform one of our concerts at our local arena. It may take awhile but I know how to make it happen. We’re getting closer to that goal every year. Stars are beginning to align.
Don’t miss this show!
Saturday, Feb 23
Interior Savings, Wentworth Music and K96.3 present
Legacy – a Musical Celebration of our Lost Legends
Tickets $18 + GST at www.eventbrite.ca
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