From last year's SARMU. This year's SARMU hits the stage at Drumlin Heights May 11, 12 and 13. TINA COMEAU/FILE PHOTO
By Tina Comeau
The folks who help to organize the annual SARMU don’t always use the word ‘amazing’ when describing the longevity of this annual musical event.
But they – and those who came before them – can’t repeat the word ‘proud’ enough times when they talk about how long this event, truly an annual tradition, has endured.
This year’s production of SARMU will be the 37th annual. Held at Drumlin Heights Consolidated School, SARMU showcases the vocal and musical talents of high school students from Drumlin and Ecole Secondaire des Par-en-Bas (PEB).
SARMU’s beginnings date back to the former Ste.-Anne du Ruisseau high school.
“It started at a school that had no music program and no music equipment and has grown into this,” says Renette Bourque, one of the co-producers of the event. “And now the school that used to house all of the candidates has been split into two and it’s still working as good as before.”
She says SARMU has been around so long that the running joke is that it started out with tin cans and strings as microphones. But what has never changed from Day 1 is its ability to draw in an audience.
“I remember when I was in it, which would have been half of SARMU’s life ago, the old gym at SAR was stuffed and packed and you had people sitting on top of the pop machine at the back of the room,” Bourque says.
This year’s SARMU will run on the evenings of May 11, 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets, which sell for $10, are sold at the door.
Participation in the show is open to students in Grades 9 through 12 who attend Drumlin and PEB schools. Auditions are held for vocalists and musicians, and even the emcees. Students also assist teachers, parents and volunteers behind the scenes. The SARMU co-producers are Johnny Boudreau, Renette Bourque, Lauren d'Entremont and Lise Newell. Alyssa LeBlanc has also volunteered extensively for the past four years and this year Candice Spinney has also stepped in to help out.
Each year rehearsals begin in early February after the students have completed their exams. As the show gets closer each year to its Mothers Day debut, the frequency of rehearsals intensifies. All of the songs are performed in English.
Any money raised at the door goes directly towards paying expenses for that year’s show and also for purchasing equipment to keep SARMU going in the future.
It is very emotional for students when they reach Grade 12 knowing their days of performing in SARMU have come to an end. Bourque says that everyone that goes through SARMU enjoys it and always looks back with very fond memories.
This is why it’s never difficult to find people to be involved in the production each year. And the talent pool of students is a very deep one, she says.
“I think I can speak on behalf of all co-producers since we were all a part of SARMU in some way,” Bourque says. “We loved it, it was one of our favourite things when we were in high school and we want the kids today to have the same experiences we had when we were there.”