MINTY: Rhayne’s ‘Love to Sing’ classes inspire in Surrey

SURREY — Teachers. That is the topic of the day. No political statements here, no "sides" of the current dispute, no speculations on when and how the public schools will get back to the task at hand. I just want to mention teachers – they have a calling, and most of them love what they do. They share their passion for learning. Don’t lose sight of that.

And of course, me being me, I appreciate most of all those teachers who encourage and lead children (and adults) to discover the creative world. These are the teachers in the "creative classroom," which may be part of regular classrooms, or may be outside the public school venue.

Last year, I met Rhayne. She was offering her "Rhayne Method" for teaching voice. She said anyone could sing – and should.

"I love teaching singing," says this professional performer, songwriter and recording artist. "I also incorporate in my method, the technique to prevent vocal injury derived from my former nurse’s training," she adds.

Last year I mentioned that she was teaching a group class at Surrey Arts Centre, and that class just took off with a huge enrollment.

This beginning group is now at level two, and continuing to sing songs from many genres, including pop, classics and RB. "It was gratifying to observe my students with increased joy, selfconfidence and vocal ability as they sang," Rhayne confided after a performance at Fleetwood Days. "I was so pleased hearing and seeing what they had been taught being put into action."

Practice is a key to success in learning anything and, like any good teacher, Rhayne assigns "homework." Practicing vocal techniques and warm-ups is proving not only to be a new hobby for many, but also a positive method of expression, stress reduction and social interaction. All good things to learn as you go through life.

You can join the new beginner groups. All you need is the desire and love for singing! "Love To Sing" classes ($60 fee for six sessions) start Sept. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Surrey Arts Centre. Also, "Singing for All" is at Fleetwood Community Centre from 7 to 9 p.m., also starting on Sept. 17. These classes are offered through Surrey Parks and Recreation; call 604 501-5100 to register.

Learning social skills is an important part of public education. It is essential to be able to get along with – and understand – our fellow human beings and the world we live in.

Surrey Arts Centre is offering a new class for youth aged 13 to 18: "Social Skills through Drama." Set 1 begins Sept. 17 and Set 2 begins Oct. 29. Each set runs six weeks on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at a cost of $150.

Taught by theatre professionals, teens will be challenged with a curriculum designed to develop self-expression through voice, movement, improvisation, acting games and script work.

All abilities are welcome. Improved social skills, while not the focus, is expected to be a happy crossover effect. Early registration is encouraged – at least one week prior is ideal. The instructors are exquisitely educated and vastly experienced. Don’t miss this opportunity.

One of the contentious issues for our classroom teachers is classroom composition.

No matter how talented and dedicated, it is a monumental task for any teacher to accommodate students with special needs.

This drama class is designed for teenagers who have social difficulties with or without an accompanying diagnosis. This includes teenagers with highfunctioning autism, learning disabilities and social anxieties, such as extreme shyness or fear of talking in front of others.

Although this is who the class is targeted for, it is not meant to exclude others. Teens who simply have an interest in taking a drama class will benefit fully from the class, and are welcome and encouraged to register. Call the arts centre, 604-501-5566.

Faith Toronchuk is an instructor, writer, director and producer.

Her primary focus is Imagine That! Productions. She also has drama classes beginning in just over a week. "Stage Antics" is for 8-to 11-yearolds (class fee $150) and "dRAmaTiX" is for 12-to 15-year-olds.

Both of these courses run 10 weeks and cost $150. Class location is 5708 Glover Road, Langley. Visit the Imagine That! website for registration and lots more info,

Education, whether academic oriented or creative based, is essential to our complex and interwoven society. We learn from each other, share experiences and cultures. We are led by teachers.

Don’t complain about the cost of music, dance or drama classes. The provincial government isn’t the only one that has to work within a budget. We all do. I respect that. But just think, if the cost of a dance class is $50 a month, I just have to say that learning to dance is priceless.

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