Curtains raised on new musical theatre program

Joint program between Queen’s and St. Lawrence College announced

Audiences watched as student performers sang in celebration of the new Queen's and St. Lawrence College musical theatre program on Thursday.

Every day, music echoes through the halls of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. On Thursday though, voices were raised to celebrate a new, multi-institutional program. 

Queen’s and St. Lawrence College (SLC) announced on Sept. 22 that the two institutions have collaborated to create a brand new joint Bachelor of Music Theatre program.

Various members of SLC and Queen’s staff spoke at the public announcement for the impending program, including Principal Daniel Woolf and SLC President Glenn Vollebregt.

Both representatives expressed their excitement about the collaboration.

According to Vollebregt, the new program “combines practical hands-on experience of [SLC’s] music theatre program with the highly regarded theoretical education of the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queen’s.”

Vollebregt also noted in his speech that the program will admit 20 students per year, beginning in September 2017.

According to Principal Woolf, the program will be four years long, with the first two years occurring on SLC’s Brockville campus and the final two located at Queen’s.

Principal Woolf ended his speech with high hopes for not only Queen’s and SLC, but the entire City of Kingston.

“We’re showing the rest of the country that Kingston is well on its way to becoming the most premier arts destination and a valuable source of talent,” said Woolf.

The program will provide a pathway for current music theatre students at SLC to receive two years of credit at Queen’s towards this new degree.

This is the third joint diploma and degree program being offered between Queen’s and SLC, after the Biotechnology program was unveiled in January 2016 and the Digital Music and Bachelor of Music program was announced in January 2014.

Craig Walker, Director of Queen’s Dan School of Drama and Music, relayed his own experience with musical theatre in high school during his speech.

According to Walker, the new program “creates an opportunity for those who have discovered this galvanizing experience as teenagers,” and deepen it further through SLC’s intensive practical program and the opportunity at Queen’s for broader academic context.

Several Queen’s students performed at the unveiling of the program, including a rendition of ‘Corner of the Sky’ from the musical Pippin, adapted by fourth year Queen’s drama and music student Brandon Swann.

In an interview with The Journal, Swann said that he sees the program as unique. “It’s something that’s not offered anywhere else.”

Recent Queen’s music graduate Ryan Cowl, ConEd ’16, shared that he was pleased to see Queen’s prioritizing the liberal arts in recent years.

“Musical theatre has been here as a club before, but this opens it up to be taken more seriously,” he said.

Jadelyn Beukeboom, a fourth year Queen’s music major, performed ‘Climb Every Mountain’ from The Sound of Music.

Beukeboom also expressed her joy that arts programs and the students within them are finally “being heard” on campus.

President Vollebregt reaffirmed this sentiment in his speech.

“As much as today is an important partnership announcement and agreement between SLC and Queen’s, it’s really not about the institutions,” Vollebregt said. “It’s about the students. It’s about providing them with a unique learning experience.”

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