What does it mean to be “North Island Strong?”
Every two years, the Port McNeill Figure Skating Club puts on a Winter Carnival Ice Show, but this year is extra special because it’s the club’s 40th anniversary and they are celebrating all things North Island.
“It’s honouring the community because it’s our 40th anniversary and I just thought it was fitting,” said coach Hanna-Ray Rosback, who picked the theme “North Island Strong” for this year’s show.
During the Carnival, the Chilton Regional Arena will be transformed from an ordinary arena with a long black backdrop that hangs from the ceiling to the ice. “It’s lighting, decorations, props – it’s everything,” explained Rosback, adding “The skaters are in head to toe costumes, their hair is done, their makeup is done. It is a huge production.”
Numbers will be performed by skaters from all levels, with performances dedicated to fishing, logging, the highway, and North Island sports. There will even be a performance dedicated Gerry Furney who was Port McNeill Mayor for 39 years. “The junior skaters are skating to a Celtic jig for him because he is from Ireland,” said Rosback.
North Island Strong will also feature solo performances from skaters, with one senior skater from Alert Bay skating to both traditional and contemporary First Nations music.
“We only do it every two years because of the number of hours we put in,” said head coach Elizabeth Kines, adding, “We probably put in hundreds and hundred of hours.”
Rosback agreed, stating she starts planning the Winter Carnival a year in advance. “It’s hours of preparation just picking the music before I get started then it’s choreographing, then it’s costumes and costume design.”
Rosback, who actually began skating with the Port McNeill Figure Skating Club when she was just two-years-old, will be performing a solo to mark 10 years of retirement as a competitive skater. “I grew up in this arena,” said Rosback, adding, “I just love the atmosphere and carnival is definitely what keeps me coming back – I just loved the show.”
She also noted carnival couldn’t be done without the support of the volunteers. “It takes a village to raise a kid, but it takes a whole community to make this carnival happen!” Rosback laughed.
The individuals behind the scenes who make the show come to fruition are Serena Fjeld, Alyssa McAstocker, Jen Dustin, Shayla Fraser, and Lucia Santin.
Volunteers and assistants include Annetta Murgatroyd, Pita Rosback, Sandy Walton, Shana Marshall and a large number of parents and other volunteers who assist with costumes, decorating, and helping the children.
Costume creators are Jessica MacKinnon, Chantal Baroutis, Kelly Staats, Chelsea Lee, Heather Gjertsen, Jodie Henkel, Pita Rosback, and Dawn Estlin. Coaches are Melanie Webber, Elizabeth Kines and Hanna-Ray Rosback.
North Island Strong will be held March 2 and 3 at 7:00 pm sharp.
Tickets are available at the door or at Timberland Sports in Port McNeill.
Come out and cheer on these amazing local athletes as they put on a show!