by Oliver Brooks, Grade 12 student
On Friday May 28th, SMUS had its 9th annual Keep the Beat music marathon and fundraiser for the non-profit charity War Child Canada. Put on by the Senior School’s Arts Council, the event holds a special place on the SMUS calendar as one of the last large student events of the year.
Things ‘officially’ kicked off on Friday morning at 9:00 am, when the Keep The Beat chapel service took place. Featured in the service were Emily Reid ’09 (Head Girl) and Alyson Rowe, War Child’s Youth Action manager visiting for the day from the organization’s main office in Toronto. Alyson gave a speech about War Child’s goals, policies and cause and was followed by Emily, who concluded the service by playing a couple of original songs. At recess, Arts Council members sold Keep The Beat T-shirts, designed this year by myself, as well as the Keep The Beat album, comprised entirely of original songs by both current students and alumni. ‘Wandering musicians’ visited classrooms throughout the morning, as well, in order to play songs and collect change.
At lunch, following tradition, there was an open-mic concert featuring student performers. Due to the unprecedented bad weather—there had never before been a rainy Keep The Beat — the concert was held in the chapel instead of the Christine Duke outdoor theatre. The concert was quickly packed with students as they moved indoors, with food from the Taco Fiesta put on by Brown Hall. The event was noteworthy, too, for the fact that there were, for the first time, along with Senior and Middle School students, a number of Junior School students in attendance who had come up to the Senior campus in order to participate in the Right to Play event taking place later in the afternoon.
After school, musicians Paul O’Brien, Sydney York, and Michael Fitzgerald — who hails all the way from Calgary — played an intimate acoustic concert in the library. The concert, performed for a small but attentive audience, ended at five. The penultimate event off the day’s marathon was the formal talent show at 6:30 pm, which was held in the Crothall Lecture Theater to a nearly full house. Featuring a broad selection of students, from a number of grades, the formal show was a great success and concluded at eight o’clock with an energetic group rendition of the Arcade Fire’s song “Wake Up” by a number of Keep The Beat organizers. The day ended with a dance in Brown Hall that ran from eight to eleven at night.
Despite the disappointing weather, Keep The Beat was, all in all, a great success, due as much to the Arts Council’s dedicated planning as to the student body’s participation. From the chapel service to the dance, it was a fun, music-filled 13 hours.