Nfld. & Labrador

School of Rock on the Rock: High school with fewer than 80 students holds daylong 'SchoolStock'

Textbooks were slammed shut, book bags traded for guitars and teachers rocked out as students jammed on two stages.

Daylong school concert hosts dozens of acts from across central Newfoundland

SchoolStock 2017 was hosted by Jane Collins Academy in Hare Bay in central Newfoundland. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

A small gymnasium in Hare Bay was converted into a makeshift rock festival venue with duelling stages for musical acts and bench seating for teachers, students and parents. 

Jane Collins Academy hosted SchoolStock 2017 on Thursday — a day dedicated to music performances from dozens of acts across central Newfoundland. 

"It's just good that there's actually a school system that embraces music for once," said Austin Hunt, who played drums and guitar for a pair of acts.

Hunt said it was nice to have a full day dedicated to the arts, "instead of everywhere else, where music is a side thing that shouldn't be taking up a day of school."

Austin Hunt says he plans to sign up for the next SchoolStock and hopes it continues. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

On Thursday he was able to perform with classmates in front of crowds of students wearing SchoolStock T-shirts celebrating the return of what was once an annual tradition. 

The last event was held four years ago.

Reviving SchoolStock

"It's possible that this is the best of the best here today," said organizer and teacher Rodney Vokey, who can vividly recall racing across the province during previous SchoolStocks.

"This is not an easy thing to do, obviously. It takes a lot of work," said Vokey, remembering SchoolStocks of the past.

"It's just like in 1969 when someone said, 'I wonder if we have a concert somewhere out in the middle of the field — would people come?'"

Teacher Rodney Vokey says it took a dedicated group of students, teachers and volunteers to revive SchoolStock. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Vokey said he was inspired by the students performing on stage who also helped organize the event. 

"We only have less than 80 kids in our high school, Grades 10, 11 and 12," said Vokey. "And we're putting off an event that Dennis Parker — who is the former director of Music NL — said that probably this is the biggest in the province like it of its kind."

Inspirational Support

Kassidy Johnson said she knew she wanted to be on the stage the moment she heard SchoolStock was happening.

"I think that music is really important. Some people think it's therapeutic," said Johnson. "It helps them a lot. I think having a day specifically for music is so important."

Johnson said she found inspiration in the volunteers who put in endless hours setting up for the event. 

"There's a lot of people here," said Johnson. "There had to be tons and tons of volunteers, so to know that people helped and cared about kids sharing their talents? It's amazing to me. It's so inspirational."