May 26th, 2024

Speech performance takes the win at 2024 Rose Bowl

By ANNA SMITH Local Journalism Initiative on March 19, 2024.

Stirling Clark poses with the Rose Bowl Trophy at the 2024 Stars of the Festival Concert.--News Photo Anna Smith

In a rare choice for the Medicine Hat Rotary Music Festival, this year’s winner was declared Stirling Clark for his work in the speech category, as presented at the Sunday Stars of the Festival Concert.

Clark has won the Rose Bowl in previous years, being part of the trio named the most outstanding performers in the 2023 competition, which he participated in as a pianist. This year, Stirling also participated in the piano and violin categories.

“I’m feeling surprised that I got the award in speech, it is rare to see speech win,” said Clark. “Though, really, I’m surprised and flattered I got it at all; all of the performers there were just amazing.”

Clark, who is 17, has been taking part in the competition for roughly 10 years, and considers his music and performance his primary passion, which he spends most of his free time on.

For his work in speech, Clark performed The Old Man, a poem by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson, as well as an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Othello.

“The Old Man is about a sailor coming home to his family, and his mother and sister greet him happily. And he’s thinking about the time that he spent on the boat, and he realizes his father isn’t there. And in the end, at the end of the poem, we learned that his father dies,” said Clark. “I think the poem is very powerful. It has a lot of emotion.”

The except, as well, revolves around the villain of the piece, Iago, and Clark had studied the play in school and found a compelling narrative he thought listeners would find both compelling and easy to understand.

“I always love Shakespeare. It is, I believe, underappreciated in a lot of spaces, and I really enjoyed Iago’s character,” said Clark.

Clark also has a love for math, in the moments when he’s not practising his music or performance, and plans on going into engineering at the University of Lethbridge in the fall.

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