“She always sings,” Beth Leadbetter says of her eight-year-old daughter Josephine, who peered into the darkened Glasgow Square theatre from the well-lit stage and bravely sang It’s a Hard-Knock Life from the musical Annie as part of New Glasgow Music Festival events. “Non-stop singing and non-stop dancing.”
Josephine, who lives in New Glasgow, started taking voice and piano lessons when she was four.
Her mom says getting up on stage helps in the development of her self-confidence, “and it gives her something that is all her own. She doesn’t have to share it with her brother and sister,” she said, perhaps half-jokingly.
Leadbetter theorized that some of the young entertainers might be shy and quiet kids away from the spotlight, “but when they get up on the stage, they really enjoy it.”
Layla Dawe, who is also eight years old, performed on Saturday as well. The Salt Springs resident comes from a musical family and began formal training in piano and voice when she was five.
“I grew up with gear around the house, sitting with the stereo cranking,” says Layla’s mom, Cassie Dawe, who said she has several family members who were and are musicians.
“Layla really enjoys it. She wants to be a famous singer – an artist. Music is good for the mind and keeps it active, and I believe that music soothes the soul.”
Leadbetter and Dawe were two of a number of eight-and-under performers (non-competitive) who appeared at Glasgow Square for the music festival, which is being held at various venues around the town.
“I think music is really important,” says Richard Skidmore, a long-time music teacher in the area who serves on the NGMF committee, which requires the work of dozens of volunteers during the month-long festival.
“And it’s something that we have in Pictou County in a really big way. We have a lot of talented kids here.”
The young performers, he went on to say, “could have been working since before Christmas, getting ready for this festival.”
The 79th annual event will conclude on the afternoon of April 30, with the traditional Stars of the Festival concert at the deCoste Entertainment Centre in Pictou.