Rosthern Junior College recently held their annual fundraising banquet.The evening was styled after an awards show gala, also honouring alumni and staff who achieved significant milestones in their careers.
Host (and RJC Vice Principal) Ryan Wood channelled his inner Ryan Seacrest as he entertained the packed gymnasium with interviews of “award winners” and introductions of performing acts.
A full musical has been performed at Rosthern Junior College every year (with one exception) since 1964. For this years’ banquet, RJC Alumni were invited to reprise their roles and songs from the musicals they had performed during their time at the school. Performers arrived from places as far as Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary for a chance to be on the RJC stage once more! The cat came back to start the show when Justin Friesen, as the Cat in the Hat from “Seussical: The Musical,” reminded the audience “How Lucky You Are” to have a school like Rosthern Junior College.
Other highlighted shows included “HMS Pinafore”, “Crazy for You”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Annie”, “Meet me in St. Louis”, and more! There were
meaningful moments when casts from shows that had been performed multiple times, shared the stage to sing pieces together, such as when two Marias and two Mother Abbesses sang a “Sound of Music” medley. Members of the “Oklahoma” casts of 1997 and 2012 also combined to sing the title song from that show. One of most poignant moments was Vic Krahn touching performance of the the song “Try to Remember” from his 1973 role in “The Fantastiks.” In all it was a fabulous trip down memory lane for performers and listeners alike.
Between the musical performances, recognition was given to to alumni who have gone on to use music for part of their chosen careers. Vickie Dyck, who directs and manages the local amateur theatre “The Barn Playhouse” described how her experience of community, while learning to sing and act while a student at RJC, was part of the reason why she chose drama as a vocation. Elise Epp (graduate of 1995) encouraged the audience to remember the joy of musical art, even if it is something chosen as a hobby. Eric Paetkau, who currently conducts that Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Group of Twenty Seven Chamber Orchestra, credits Rosthern Junior College for his formative holistic education that lead him in his career as a professional musician.
Special recognition was given to former RJC teachers Bill Kruger and Rudy Froese for their visionary leadership that started the annual musical tradition that continues to this day. The next musical at Rosthern Junior College will be announced in February and performed in June, 2017. Recognition was also given to current RJC staff who reached career milestones of employment at the school for 15, 20, and 30 or more years. A “Lifetime Achievement Award” was given to Lloyd Schmidt, who spent his entire teaching career at RJC and retired last year.
Rosthern Junior College is thankful for the tremendous support it receives for its mission of Christian education for young people in today’s world. The success of the fundraising banquet can be measured by the enthusiasm of returning alumni who were thrilled to help where they could; by the full gymnasium of supporters who enjoyed an amazing evening of entertainment, as well as fine food from the RJC kitchen; and the more than $50,000 raised for RJC.