Clarenville students participate in African-themed music workshop

Choirs focus on South African and Namibian styles

Published on March 7, 2017

Music blared from the Eastlink Events Centre (EEC) theatre last Wednesday, March 1, as local choir members took part in a special musical workshop.

About 120 students packed the EEC for the workshop with Edmonton-based choral conductor Scott Leithead.

The choir during the workshop.
Contributed photo

The workshop, hosted by the Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Music at Memorial University in St. John’s, exposed both students and teachers to South African and Namibian music and culture.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Ann Lundrigan, music teacher at Clarenville High School.

“For the students to do these kind of workshops in person gives them the opportunity to see that music extends beyond the classroom.  It is so much better to learn by doing than to learn by reading about it.”

Namibian native Nelson Naftalie Nagenda travelled with Scott, and assisted in bringing African musical repertoire, dancing, and storytelling practices to life.

“Nelson spoke about life and music in Africa and for the students to hear this first hand was incredible.  They really enjoyed it,” explained Lundrigan.

Students from Riverside Elementary also attended the cost-free workshop, along with students from Clarenville Middle and High School.

“The opportunity to work with Scott and Nelson was incredible,” said Lundrigan.

Scott Leithead and Nelson Naftalie Nagenda.

©Contributed photo

“They are both so high energy and really know how to engage the students.”

Leithead and Magenda also brought the workshop to students in Grand Falls-Windsor on Tuesday, Feb. 28, and St. John’s on Friday, Mar. 3.

For video of the choir performing some of the music from the workshop, go to