Walking outside 136 Cormorant Place you can hear the mismatched sounds of various musical instruments echoing through the wind. The noise is coming from the lower window. Inside are 12 students no younger than 15 years old and no older than 18. They are each warming up their vocals and tuning their instruments to the right note.
Ian Lihou, their enthusiastic instructor with a Mick Jagger-like essence to him, gives them a “one, two, three” count and they begin singing and playing in harmony.
The practice is one of the few they have left before the Rock Stock 2019, a showcase for all their work since their last concert in December 2018. This is the ninth year Lihou’s studio, Ring System Music, has been open and the fifteenth concert they have performed.
“It’s going to be a fabulous show,” said Lihou.
Ryan Vicks, 17-year-old vocalist and electric guitarist, is one of the oldest members in the program, having joined in 2012 at the age of 10. He is most excited to belt out the song “Singing Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh as his cousin riffs on the guitar alongside him.
The concert is a mix of rocks, classics, and contemporary.
“[Ian] made me love music because we can sing what we want,” said Kate Morse, 17-year-old vocalist who also rocks the guitar.
This concert is especially important to Morse because she will be performing “Funk 49” in costume with all the other students who are graduating from high school this year.
The showcase is made up of 50 students ranging from nine to 19 years old. They have been individually practicing an hour a week since December and four hours together as a group almost every Sunday.
Lihou said he has watched some of his older students, like Morse and Vicks, grow up over the past few years and feels a tremendous sense of pride in “their self-confidence, mentorship toward the younger students, and growth as musicians.”
“Not just them, but all my students,” he said.
All proceeds go to the Lester Centre. Every year they raise between three to $3.5 thousand dollars for the centre during their spring performance and just over $3.5 thousand for the Salvation Army during their holiday concert, according to Lihou.
“I have to say thanks to community of Prince Rupert,” he said. “They never not show up.”
He said his biggest regret is that, due to scheduling conflicts with the centre (ie. school graduations) their performances always fall during the Relay for Life event and he and his students cannot give back the way they would like. Next Saturday, they will be cheering the relayers on, but he hopes to one day perform at the event in support.
The show takes place at the Lester Centre on Saturday, May 25. The show is admission by donation and begins at 7 p.m.
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