A Talent Night to Remember

2011-2012 Issue 2
Performers at the Event

Performers at the Event, Photo: Ryan Blau

Last February, learners from the School of Continuing Studies’ Intensive English- Language and Culture program staged a talent show spotlighting their increased proficiency in English.

“My idea was to have a truly international flavour to represent our diverse student body,” says Devaki Groulx, a lecturer in the program and the coordinator of the event, aptly named McGill’s Got Talent.

To that end, she and Louise Kyrtatas, a faculty lecturer and Assistant Program Coordinator in the Language and Intercultural Communication (L&IC) unit, put out a call to all learners interested in taking the stage. Shortly afterwards, with plenty of assistance from L&IC instructors and staff members, the preparations for the show got under way.

“It was clear that we had a group of talented performers,” Groulx explains. Among them were singers from a range of cultural backgrounds, singing in both English and their mother tongues; dancers of the hip-hop and modern jazz varieties; a magician; and even a student Kyrtatas calls a “kung-fu master” – Chun Yuan Wang, who hails from China.

“His performance was incredible,” Kyrtatas recalls. “He’s been studying kung-fu since he was three, and he did his routine to music.”

There were also multilingual dramatic monologues and dialogues. Another highlight came when Igor Mostovoi, a learner from the Ukraine, performed an operatic Ukrainian folk song. “It brought the house down!” Groulx says.

The entire production – including the grand finale, a group rendition of Bill Withers’s 1972 classic, Lean On Me – “was a big undertaking,” Kyrtatas explains.

But the event, was well worth the effort. “I think it really fostered a positive feeling about the students’ experience here at McGill,” Kyrtatas says. “When you connect through the arts, through music, through dance and song, it’s kind of a common denominator right away,” she adds. “The learners made fast friends.”

Kyrtatas was proud to see her students take the stage after a semester of hard work. Not even the occasional linguistic slip-up in the performances could dampen the audience’s enthusiasm for the event. “I think it’s all about that sense of community and belonging to something at McGill,” Kyrtatas says.

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