A Howl of a Good Time in Boarding

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It was a weekend full of Halloween-themed everything for boarders and house parents; from Brown Hall meals, to fireworks, to the boarding-wide talent show, Howlapalooza, everything had a bit of the holiday’s touch.


Photos by Ian Robertson and Chris Bateman
Video footage by Kent Leahy-Trill

The Spirit of Howlapalooza

by Mat Geddes, Senior House Parent, Barnacle House
From the beginning Howlapalooza (in October) and Valentineapalooza (in February) have been organic celebrations of musical talent in our boarding community. They are not about perfection or amazing performances (though we certainly have those too), they are an experiment and the talents that our students share are truly wonderful. Further, the shows are an opportunity for the performers to embody the pillars of honesty and courage. The audience members show respect and are incredibly encouraging and supportive. All in all, with the magic and mystery surrounding Halloween, this night is a highlight of the year!

by Thompson Wong, Grade 12, Harvey House
My first “palooza” was in February of my Grade 9 year. It was my first time going solo on stage and I chose to sing Michael Bublé’s “Everything.” I was nervous at first and had a rush of adrenaline, but it was really fun and I was hooked.

Since then, I have tried to choose songs to match the theme of the “palooza.” For example, for Howlapalooza one year I sang “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. For Valentineapalooza, I usually choose songs with a slower, jazzier melody.

Before I came to SMUS, I was involved in my school choir in Hong Kong and was a part of jam groups during choir classes. The “paloozas” are a great chance for us to get on stage and seize yet another opportunity SMUS offers!

by Gabe Lunn, Grade 12, Bolton House
Gabe Lunn performs at Howlapalooza. Photo by Ian RobertsonThe act of performance and song has never really originated from any culture in particular. Every version of the human manifestation seems to have its own interpretation of expression. The First Nations, Mayans, Hindus, Europeans, Asians — whatever culture you can count off your fingertips, all had their own distinctive style of musical form and ambition. In our modern, globalized culture, we’ve managed to integrate as many ethnicities together not only in North America, but in just about every major country.

There is a sign that hangs in the Bolton Timmis boarding house office that has stayed with me. It reads: Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit. At SMUS, we celebrate this ideal as often as we can.

During the fall season, when it is nearing Halloween, the boarding community puts on the Howlapalooza concert. Essentially, it’s a musical concert in the chapel where several, if not dozens, of groups comprised of boarding students perform music in front of the rest of the boarding community. The acts often vary from just about any musical genre that comes to mind. The students are trained in many varieties of musical practice, so students are likely to perform songs that are of classical, modern pop , and even self-written backgrounds. Such variety brings an element to the event that keeps the audience guessing for what the event could potentially hold.

I have performed in the concert and other acoustic concerts held at the school; and in my opinion, it’s probably one of the best events of the year in terms of entertainment. Next to such events as the Musical, Keep the Beat, or the several acoustic concerts that are put on throughout the year, Howlapalooza is special in the fact that it’s meant solely for the boarding community. Howlapalooza brings our vibrant community together for an evening to enjoy each other’s company and talent.

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