Moved by refugee experiences

In News by Shane

ALANA TRACHENKO Westwood students are preparing for a choir and dance showcase in support of refugees. From left: Matt Koldon, Tiana Steeves, Kayla Cote and Olivia Groot.

Westwood students host fundraiser

St. James students are leading the way onstage in a choral and dance fundraiser in support of Winnipeg refugees.

Westwood Collegiate is hosting the event, called Rise: A Showcase in Aid of Refugees, with Grade 12 student Matt Koldon at the helm. He began to organize the massive show in June 2017 and he says he’s excited to finally see it come to life onstage on Feb. 16.

 “There was the refugee crisis in 2015 and I noticed at our school we didn’t really do anything about it,” Koldon said. “I think it would be a good idea to take that step and organize an event that would support them and raise money from them.”

Koldon’s background in dance and choir inspired the idea for the show, which will include performances by groups from Sturgeon Heights, John Taylor, Lincoln Middle School and community group Independence A Capella.

The show concludes with a divisional choir performance with 150 students.

Westwood Grade 12 students Tiana Steeves, Kayla Cote and Olivia Groot have been working with Koldon, and with their respective classes, to put together a show that would be both entertaining and meaningfully connected to the experience of refugees.

“We struggled with that one a lot,” Groot said. “Everyone… took a different view towards how they’re going to do it. They could be hopeful or sad and desperate, so there’s a lot of variety just in the dance (part), so the whole show is a big variety.”

“A lot of hearing the stories and reading about the stories and seeing movement put to it puts everything in a different aspect,” Cote said. “You don’t really see that when you’re reading an article and you don’t usually get that feeling where you feel what they’re going through.”

Steeves said over the past few months the group has had an opportunity to learn a lot about the crisis and hear refugee accounts.

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