Holland College Blog

News and views from around the college

SoPA students get back into the classroom after exciting East Coast Music Week

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By Kayla Woodside
Journalism student/Communications intern


Lead guitarist Bruce Rooney (centre) and bass player Evan McCosham (right) with their band, Coyote. (Photo courtesy Jillian Trainor, Journalism student)

Lead guitarist Bruce Rooney (centre) and bass player Evan McCosham (right) with their band, Coyote. (Photo courtesy Jillian Trainor, Journalism student)

Music Performance students Evan McCosham and Bruce Rooney fell back into the rhythm of exams and classes after a series of exciting performances during East Coast Music Week in Charlottetown recently.

The two are members of the popular local pop-rock band Coyote. Bass player McCosham and lead guitarist Rooney started off the week with a performance at the kick-off party for the Sound Waves Program in Stratford, and then performed at Hunter’s Ale House on Wednesday.

“ECMAs is like second Christmas. It’s awesome, we look forward to it every year,” Rooney said.

The two students played with their five-piece pop-rock band Thursday at the Guild for their last show, followed by tapings and acoustic performances throughout the rest of the week.

“We were happy to have as many performances as we’ve had despite not having an album out,” McCosham said.
Rooney said they had a lot of good buzz through the week for Coyote.

“It’s good because it’s a little bit different than your regular show. If you buy tickets just to see a regular band they’ll come and play anywhere from 45 minutes to two and a half hours. With the ECMAs, it’s nice because it’s just a about showcasing,” Rooney said.

Rooney said they were lucky to have finished their sets early so they could see the other bands playing.

“Next year will be a little bit more of a champion year for us because we’ll have our new album out and we’ll be submitting it for nominations,” Rooney said.

Details for the release are still being worked out, but the students expect to release it this summer.

Although the ECMAs have come to an end, Coyote still have a packed schedule in front of them. They plan on playing in a number of festivals through the summer, Evolve included, as well as performing in Toronto, Sudbury and Montreal.

“We’re looking at having a pretty full summer. We’re going to be a part of the anniversary celebrations here in Charlottetown, there’s going to be a show in Victoria Park which will be a free show outdoors,” Rooney said.

The band’s biggest performance will be their own album release in Charlottetown.

McCosham said being in Holland College’s Music Performance program has helped his music career.

“You can be a talented musician and write some great music, but without knowledge of how to make that music accessible to a wide audience it could be very difficult to forge a career,” he said.

McCosham said he has many mentors from the program, including lead instructor Alan Dowling, and the course instructors.

“That guidance will aid our progress throughout our careers and the rest of our lives”


Written by Sara Underwood

April 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Students, Uncategorized

Familiar faces at East Coast Music Week

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Deserie Murphy captures footage of the stage being set up in the ballroom of the Delta for the ECMAs.

 Kayla Woodside
Journalism student/Communications intern

As East Coast Music Week leaps into action with busy artists, staff and volunteers a few recognizable faces will be helping to create an explosively successful week at the Delta in Charlottetown.

Holland College students are helping with ECMW as part of their class projects.

First year Marketing and Advertising Management student Bhreagh Gentile is working with the ECMW social media team. She and classmates will be tweeting live at the shows and taking photos.

“We’re tweeting the artists coming up, if our venues are at capacity, just sort of the goings on and taking crowd photos, photos of the performers and just genuinely capturing the whole essence of East Coast Music Week,” Gentile said.

The class will be sending their information out to the public through the ECMW accounts.

“We’re really providing instant coverage of things that are happening around town,” said Michelle MacNeil, who is also in the Marketing and Advertising Management program.

MacNeil is from Cape Breton and said she’s always excited to see what the artists from her area are doing.

Journalism students will also be at the venues capturing video, photos, and organizing interviews to share personal stories with the Island.

Deserie Murphy is working on the broadcast side of journalism and said she’s excited to be a part of the project.

“For today, it’s the first day of ECMW and I’ve just been working on getting footage of the set up and all the stages and seeing how everything is being put up,” she said.

Murphy was scouting out the rooms at the Delta Prince Edward, one of the many venues for ECMW events, to see where she wants to take her piece for the project and what angle she wants to tell her story from.

“We’re just working right now on the groundwork for the rest of ECMW so it should be a great show. A lot of video is being taken, a lot of b-roll and that’s just today – we’re just getting started,” she said.

The journalism students will be posting their work on the Holland College Surveyor as well as directly through the ECMA sites.

Sophie goes to Hollywood!

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Sophie in Cali 1When Sophie Melanson left her hometown of Shediac, N.B. to take Holland College’s two-year Photography and Digital Imaging program almost two years ago, she never imagined that she’d end up schmoozing with the stars in an Oscar gifting suite, but that’s what happened earlier this month.

The trip came about because of some product photography she did for Charlottetown entrepreneur Nicole Mead’s LOVE!T products.

“She liked how I worked, my efficiency, and how clean my work was, and invited me to go with her to Los Angeles…a few days later, I’m on a plane,” Sophie recalled.

Sophie in Cali 2Celebrity gifting suites have become ubiquitous at entertainment industry events. Vendors fly to the location at their own expense for the opportunity to showcase their products to music, TV and film stars. Sophie’s job was to take pictures and video of Nicole’s LOVE!T product booth, visitors, and products.

“The day before the Oscars, I met Mickey Rooney, Kym Whitely, Niecy Nash, Sam Page, Nia Peeples, along with 150 more celebrities. It was surreal!” she said.

Determined to make the most of her trip, Sophie set out to meet as many people as possible, both to make them aware of the product, and aware of her photography skills.

“We went to an After Oscar party at the West Hollywood Hotel. It was amazing! The people were so open and friendly, and many of them were CEOs of companies, but they treated me really well.

“Since we returned from California, I’ve been keeping in touch with the people I met, and have even had a potential job offer for after I graduate.”

Sophie said it was a real “small-town girl goes to L.A.” story, and the trip has given her the travel bug.

Sophie in Cali 3“My dream is to work for National Geographic, so I’m working hard on building up a portfolio that will be professional enough to inspire their confidence in my ability to do an assignment.”

It’s a long way from Shediac to L.A., but Sophie said her experience in the Photography and Digital Imaging program provided her with the basics she needed to get started in this highly-competitive industry.

“When I graduated high school, I didn’t want to move to a big city or to a place where the focus was on just one aspect of the business. I wanted a place that was close to home, but that could teach me the hands-on skills I needed to launch my career, this program has done that.”

Sophie’s currently doing her on the job training with nationally recognized photographer Maurice Henri.

To view more of Sophie’s work, visit her Tumblr page, http://sophiemelanson.tumblr.com/.

Images courtesy of Sophie Melanson.

Written by Sara Underwood

March 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Students

Holland College teams up with Seniors College to offer fitness training

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It’s not uncommon to find the fitness centre in Holland College’s Centre for Community Engagement comfortably full of people working on the various weight machines, bikes, and ellipticals, or to glance through the window onto the running track and see people of all ages walking and running, their earphones clamped firmly to their heads.

But when Holland College and the Seniors College teamed up recently to offer a series of fitness classes dubbed Let’s Get Physical, the balance tipped a little more toward the higher end of the age scale. About two dozen seniors took part in the classes, learning more about their own fitness levels, about how to properly use the equipment, and what sorts of fitness activities were of most interest to them. In addition to the workout equipment, the group has participated in Kettleball, Pilates and Zumba classes.

Joseph Mahar, a second year Sport and Leisure Management student, has been working with the seniors over the past few weeks.

He said that while they are enthusiastic about trying new things, they are a little more hesitant than some of the younger members of the gym.

“Some equipment can be intimidating to someone if they have limited mobility or haven’t been active for a few years,” he said. “We show them the safe way to use the equipment and how to make accommodations for their particular physical challenges.”

The participants have been enjoying the sessions.  Maria Dowling, a retired project manager and a volunteer board member for the Seniors College, said the class was a popular offering.

“The course introduced us to a variety of exercises. Many people had never used gym machines or tried Pilates, Zumba, or Kettle bell. The music at the Zumba class made us dream of a Caribbean cruise! What a great way to workout and have fun. Some seniors are now dropping into lunch hour classes at Holland College to stay active,” she said.

For over 13 years, the Seniors College of P.E.I. has been offering a wide range of courses to anyone aged 50 and over.  In 2013-14, more than 140 courses were offered in and around the Summerside, Montague and Charlottetown areas. Courses include topics such as computers, drawing, painting, literature, music, cooking, local history, hiking, yoga and much more! Emphasis is on personal growth in a casual, friendly atmosphere that encourages social interaction and having fun. For a registration fee of $152, college members are entitled to sign up for an unlimited number of courses over the fall, winter and spring terms. Seniors College is a volunteer-operated non-profit organization and membership fees are used solely to cover operating costs.

A full list of Seniors College courses, schedules, and descriptions is available on the Seniors College website. For more information on Seniors College contact Dee Davis at 894-2867 or send an email.

Written by Sara Underwood

February 21, 2014 at 9:01 am

Posted in Staff, Students

Pastry Arts students participate in Kitchen Aid For the Cure competition

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The pastry kitchen at the Tourism and Culinary Centre on the Charlottetown Waterfront was surprisingly quiet the other day, considering that seven of the Pastry Arts students were in the middle of a competition to create a signature sweet treat for Kitchen Aid.

The competition was the brainchild of Kitchen Aid/Whirlpool Territory Manager Lisa Gautreau.

“Kitchen Aid is a strong supporter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,” Lisa explained. “When I began my events for Kitchen Aid Cook For The Cure in New Brunswick and P.E.I. last year, I felt the need to have a sweet giveaway – something that would echo the Cook For The Cure cause and, of course, be delicious! I was having difficulty finding a local baker to help me out because, obviously, I would need hundreds of portions for some of these events and I wanted it to be something cheerful, fun and optimistic. I was at The Culinary Institute of Canada in P.E.I. one day when I happened to mention to the culinary program manager, Chef Austin Clements, and Chef Kevin Boyce the trouble I was having finding something to give away at these Cook For The Cure events and simply asked, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we threw out a challenge to the students?’ Next thing you know, I was in the office of head Pastry Arts instructor Chef Richard Braunauer, and shortly after that, I was in front of the pastry class throwing them the challenge. Those chefs made this happen. Fast!”

The students appeared unruffled as they prepared their concoctions, all of which looked absolutely delicious when they were plated in preparation for judging. Then they left the kitchen while the adjudication took place.

Brad Hamilton and Jonathan Coates of Alpha Appliance Solutions, and Karen Mair, host of CBC’s Mainstreet, PEI’s afternoon radio show, were the judges. The three took their time sampling the students’ entries, which included Strawberry French Macaroons, Salted-Caramel Chocolate Tarts, Orange Shortbread Cookies, Bi-Layered Raspberry Marshmallow & Rose Water Fudge with White Chocolate, Lemon Cake Pops and Chocolate Filled Coconut Cakes.

The competition was close, but in the end, first place went to Keith Hanna for his recipe for Chocolate Filled Coconut Cakes . Take a look at the recipe, it includes his rationale for choosing this style of sweet…it’s really compelling! Anne Marie Woodgate’s Strawberry French Macaroons took second place, and third place went to Colbi Flanagan for her Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts.

Keith’s biography and recipe will be posted on the Kitchen Aid website, and he will be invited to attend some of the gala events at which his sweet will be served. He also won a Kitchen Aid mixer. The runners up received Architect series 5-speed hand blenders, one of Kitchen Aid’s newest products on the market.

Chef Instructor Richard Braunauer said that participating in competitions is a good way for students to hone their skills and build their résumés.

“The students need to be organized and able to work under pressure,” he said. “A competition situation really drives that message home.”

Lisa Gautreau said that she hopes the competition will become an annual event.

“These students were keen, competitive and creative. Many of them told me that they were personally affected by breast cancer in their family and wanted to do something to help. I cannot tell you how proud I am for Kitchen Aid Cook For The Cure to be affiliated with this college and these bright young students to help our cause,” she said.

For the students, the competition was a hands-on learning experience and an opportunity to contribute to a great cause. But Lisa said she learned something from it, too.

“It may seem funny and simplistic, but this competition has taught me a valuable lesson. I have a very close friend battling breast cancer. I’ve wanted to do everything and anything to help her. But I am limited in my talents and capabilities. I am not an oncologist, a priest, a counselor, or a dietician. I am simply a lady who sells appliances. But what I can do is mobilize the people around me to inspire them to get cooking and help me raise money and awareness. I can do something worthwhile. And it will matter.”

Written by Sara Underwood

February 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Tourism and Travel Management student earns professional certification

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Second-year student Kieran Atkinson accepts his eMerit certificate from Rod Clark, eMerit coordinator for TIAPEI.

Second-year student Kieran Atkinson accepts his emerit certificate from Rod Clark, emerit coordinator for TIAPEI.

Congratulations to Kieran Atkinson, a second-year student in our Tourism and Travel Management program, for earning his emerit certification as a tour guide. In addition to writing an exam, Kieran had to complete 60 hours of tour guiding experience. He also worked, for the second year, on the Points East Tulip Festival.

emerit Certifications provide employers with the confidence that an employee has the appropriate training for a position in the tourism and travel industry. In Prince Edward Island, th Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. (TIAPEI) is the official supplier of emerit products and services.

Written by Sara Underwood

February 12, 2014 at 10:35 am

Posted in Students

Chinese New Year’s a time for family and good fortune for EEELS students

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(L-R) Nhung Dinh, Xiangyu Ma, Hong Ying Dou and Jing Yang.

For many Islanders Christmas and New Year’s are now in the distant past, the memories blurred by a couple of hearty snow storms and, for some, a blizzard of bills. But for Jing Yang, Xiangyu Ma, Nhung Dinh, and Hong Ying Dou, students at our Belmont Centre in Charlottetown, the biggest holiday of the year is just a few days away – the Chinese New Year.

The four women are all in one of the college’s Enhanced Employability Essential Language Skills class. Jing, Xiang and Hong are all from different parts of China, Nhung is from Viet Nam, and although they share many similar traditions there are variations, too.

The food that they will eat over the holidays is not just delicious, it is laden with significance. The long noodles that they will start their meals with represent long life. The fish they prepare will ensure that they always have plenty of the necessities of life, while the dumplings they will eat are shaped like money to bring them wealth.

Nhung, whose husband has returned to Vietnam to celebrate the New Year, said that the family eats traditional Vietnamese rice cakes to remind them of their ancestors and their family’s history, and the house is filled with cherry blossoms and kumquats.

“In Vietnam right now, every street everywhere is covered in cherry blossoms,” she said. “You bring them into your house and they bloom and bring you good luck.”

In China, Jing said, they place food on a table set to honour their ancestors, which brings them good luck.

Luck is an important aspect of the New Year celebrations. Hong Ying said that in her part of China at this time of year, people who are born under the same sign as the incoming year (this will be the Year of the Horse), must pay special attention to avoid misfortune.

“If this is the year of your birth, you must wear red to avoid evil spirits and bad luck,” she explained. We pondered about that for a minute. I thought that one should expect to have a lucky year this year if you were born in the Year of the Horse, but they assured me that it was a year of potential strife for Horses.

“Perhaps because you would be too proud,” Xiangyu suggested.

Whereas in Hong Ying’s home town people wear as much red as possible, Jing said that where she comes from, close to Beijing, people fend off bad luck with only a strip of red cloth tied to a belt loop.

New Year’s is usually between January and February, exactly when depends on the lunar calendar, and the celebrations last 15 days. Preparations started this year on December 8 with a meal of porridge.

It is believed that the kitchen god will leave your home after dark on December 23 to report to a higher deity. Since you want to make sure that his report to the higher deity reflects well on you, the cooking and cleaning begins after he’s gone!

“In the countryside, traditions are very important,” Hong Ying said. “You clean all of your house so that the kitchen god will give a good report. You prepare sweets for the kitchen god and hay for his horse, and you burn incense and pray sincerely. You get ready to welcome the kitchen god back and give the family a fresh start in the new year.”

Fireworks send the kitchen god to heaven, and then, on New Year’s Eve, welcome him back into your home. After the fireworks, the family eats dumplings that they made earlier in the day.

While luck and good fortune are important elements in the New Year’s traditions, it is the emphasis on family, both past and present, which is most important. I wondered if Jing, Xiangyu, Nhung and Hong Ying would be homesick. Jing is visiting her daughter in Cambridge, England for the holidays; but Xiangyu, Nhung and Hong Ying agreed that although there won’t be any large celebrations here in P.E.I., being able to use social media such as QQ (a popular social media site in China, where Facebook is banned), Facebook, and Skype to connect with their families, makes it easier. All of them have children and other family members here as well, and they are looking forward to celebrating with them over the holiday.

If you would like to find out more about Chinese New Year, this article has lots of interesting links.

Gong He Xin Chun!

Written by Sara Underwood

January 30, 2014 at 10:36 am

Posted in Students


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