(Copyright 1999 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

May 10, 1999

Canadians check out Bristol plays, music, culture

By HILA YOSAFI
The Tattoo

Bristol Eastern High School's music department
recently had a cultural experience right here in Bristol.
Band and chorus students from the John Rennie High
School in Pointe-Claire, Quebec lived with Eastern
students for three days.

Eastern visited the school, which was Superintendent
Ann Clark's alma mater, last school year for their
annual music trip.

Nancy Sweer, Jon Rennie's band director said, "Our
kids were so impressed. We came here to learn and
we've already learned what nice people you are."

Eastern's band director Richard Theriault said his
students got to know kids from another country
musically but more importantly, culturally.  

Alexandra Morgan, a ninth grader at Jon Rennie said
the people she met in Bristol were more "down to
earth."

John Rennie High School has seventh to 11th grade. 
Upon graduation in 11th grade, students must attend a
two year school before enrolling into a four-year
college or university.

All the students speak English clearly, without accents. 
Most can speak French as well.

Sarah Thorpe, an 11th grader from John Rennie, said,
"It's so gorgeous here."

Sweer said students in Montreal don't start playing
instruments until the eighth grade. Students here start
tootin' horns in the third grade.

Junior Patti Archambeault, who plays in Eastern's
band, said most of the music students here don't think
the Board of Education is providing them with enough
for their music department. Sweer said, "You should
be grateful.

Archambeault said, "I guess we don't know what we
have."

Eastern's choral director Ken Ferris said while the
Bristol school is getting millions for renovations, John
Rennie is getting thousands.

"You should see this school in a year and a half,"
Ferris told Sweer, "You'll be blown away."

The students voluntarily hosted the more than 60
Canadians at their homes. While most students took
one or two, Ferris took in four boys.

Junior Nicole Echagarrua, who plays in Eastern's band
and took in two girls said, "I thought it would be a
nice thing to do."

Her father, Leo Echagarrua said, "I'm glad we could
return the hospitality that they were so generous to
show us when we visited their country."

The visitors toured the New England Carousel
Museum in Bristol, attended a dress rehearsal of
Bristol Central's spring musical "Oklahoma," and
visited Mystic.

There was also a joint concert in Eastern's cafeteria
that featured the two bands and choruses, which was
followed by a dance.

Eleventh grader Lindsay Legault from John Rennie
said the Americans and Canadians were "pretty much
the same."

Ninth grader Andrew Kerrigan, also from Montreal
said the Americans he met pronounced their As funny.

Troy Tagg, a ninth grader also from John Rennie said
the international display of flags in the cafeteria, part
of a recent effort to celebrate diversity at Eastern, was
a good idea.
  


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