Painting at Ecole McTavish

I'm always emboldened by young people who express themselves through the arts.  Their creative energy and natural talent blows me away.  Last night, I had an invitation from teacher Ashley Brockway to do some live painting at Ecole McTavish with two students, Mariam and Jasmine.  We were set up off to the left of the audience and painted the Frankenstein monster while awards were handed out and performances given.

Mariam and Jasmine reminded me a lot of my son Ben - they are about the same age.  I tried to express the similarities to my wife when I got home, but I had a devil of a time.  They were both so serious about the task at the outset, very quiet and emotionally reserved.  But a marvellous thing happened.

Near the end of the awards, Mariam and Jasmine were almost finished their portraits.  Both were fantastic and completely unique.  The finishing flourishes that they added right at the end were brilliant and perfect.  As the program came to a close, family and friends came over to their tables to see their work.  They lit up, and I lit up inside seeing them shine.

A young lady named Emma Lewis (Scarecrow in the recent Ecole McTavish production of The Wiz) did a stunning version of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Cars".  The jazz band did an awesome version of "Louie Louie".  And the emcees, the Fadden brothers,  were absolutely fantastic (and humorous) in keeping the program rolling.

Certainly one of the highlights for me was the musical reunion of Emma Lewis and Hannah Forward.  I don't know the name of the song they did but it was so good.  There is nothing better than painting to live music, and my brush was in high gear as they two of them sang and played.

I've grown to become very fond of the students, teachers and administration of Ecole McTavish.  They are fantastic people, and as I listened to the introductions of the various awards, it is clear to me that some beautiful life-changing things are happening in this school.  It was an honour to be there.


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