Brennan Sawyer shares his silly face with vocal coach Kimmee Denness-Thomas for a warm-up exercise during the Wild Heart Music Program's Music of the Heart workshop at the A-Frame Church in Port McNeill Monday.

Brennan Sawyer shares his silly face with vocal coach Kimmee Denness-Thomas for a warm-up exercise during the Wild Heart Music Program's Music of the Heart workshop at the A-Frame Church in Port McNeill Monday.

Aspiring musicians sing their Hearts out

Wild Heart singers gather for workshop ahead of OrcaFest performance.

Elena Rardon

The Wild Heart Music Program hosted its second annual summer workshop this week, drawing young singers from across the North Island.

Twenty-one students gathered at the A-Frame Church in Port McNeill this week for the three-day Music of the Heart workshop.

The workshop was hosted by Kimmee Denness-Thomas, a vocal coach and vocalist who studied fine arts at the University of Victoria. Denness-Thomas runs a youth theatre and music program in Victoria, and has a background in musical theatre, dance, and opera.

“Don’t worry,” she assured the kids Monday. “I’m not going to make you sing opera.”

The first day of the workshop started out with introductions, games and ice breakers, including a sing-off. The next two days were focused on vocals, harmonies, and choreography. By the end of the workshop, the students had put together an original arrangement, built around one theme: what does it mean to have a “wild heart?”

The workshop brought together youth aged 11-19 from various communities across the North Island. Denness-Thomas emphasized the inclusivity of the workshop.

“The arts are extremely important to the development of young people,” she stressed Monday. “It allows them to express themselves, and builds confidence.”

The workshop’s main goal, she said, was “empowering voices.”

The Wild Heart Music program, run by Stephanie Eakle and Deborah Murray, was launched in 2012 due to fundraising efforts by former Port McNeill singer-songwriter Georgia Murray. The program was established to fill a gap in arts education and bring music into the lives of North Island youth.

The Wild Heart Music program is free and welcomes new members every year.

Keep an eye out for the aspiring singer-songwriters during OrcaFest on Saturday, where they will hold a performance and debut their original arrangement.