Wiky music students prepare to rock the Thunderdome at 2014 REZFEST

Sean Kelly (guitarist for Nelly Furtado) accompanies business music student Moira Shawana at Wasse-Abin High School's Rezfest concert last year, highlighting original songs written by students in the school's business music program.

WIKWEMIKONG—Wikwemikong High School students have been busy this week preparing for the second annual REZFEST—a concert showcasing original songs students wrote as part of the business music program at the school.

“In addition to writing and practicing their original songs, the students have been actively promoting this year’s REZFEST through campaigns on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” explained one of the programs teachers Jason Thibault. “They have also done a mail drop throughout the community of 1,200 brochures, a promotional video on YouTube and put up posters across the Island.”

Mr. Thibault told The Expositor that the students have been working hard to make this year’s REZFEST bigger and better then last year, switching venues from the high school to the Wikwemikong Thunderdome, offering a more diverse lineup of musical styles, including food vendors, merchandise and door prizes,

“There will be VIP passes this year for $30 which will include a REZFEST t-shirt, REZFEST stadium cup, admission, backstage access, food and drink and an autographed poster of the artists,” said Mr. Thibault. “There will also be door prizes including an autographed microphone by Canadian rock legends Metal on Ice and a raffle for an Electric Epiphone electric guitar.”

The lineup for the evening includes MC Chris Pheasant, the southern rock/country sound of the Wiky Boyz, music from the rock band Rural Roots, an acoustic set from Moirah Shawana, hard rock from Jordan and Friends, the hip hop flavour of Mo Littles, a performance from music business co-teacher Pat Peltier, rap music from Elliot Simon, acoustic rock from Shayne and Taylor, rock from 10 Mile Point and an acoustic rock set from Missy Knott.

The music business program was launched last year at Wikwemikong High School, a joint program between the school and Coalition Music, which is sponsored by Rogers Communications, offering students the opportunity to learn the music business and have real life exposure to the life of a musician.

Wikwemikong High School is not only the first school outside of Toronto to run the program, but also the first aboriginal school to offer the course.

Locally, the program is delivered by Wikwemikong High School teacher Jason Thibault and musician Pat Peltier, with Coalition Music representatives visiting monthly to lead workshops and bringing with them celebrity guests.

This year the students have worked with famous musicians and industry leaders like Sean Kelly, guitarist for Nelly Furtado and former member of Canadian metal group Helix, Jay Parsons and Ashley Buchholz of Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS), Coalition Music Artist Manager and manager of USS Liam Killeen and Coalition Music Production Manager Kevin Meikle.

Doors open for REZFEST at the Wikwemikong Thunderdome this Friday, May 30 at 6:30 pm with performances starting at 7 pm and continuing through to 11 pm.

The all ages event is open to everyone, with tickets available for $5 at Wikwemikong High School or at the door (the event is free to kids seven-years-old and under). There is also a limit of 250 available tickets, which will include a REZFEST promotional cup, plus two non-alcoholic drink tickets and admission for $5.

For more information call the high school at 705-859-2870.