Maureen Russell has been the dressmaker for Cantiamo since the inception of the choir. Ten years ago, when she heard that Jackie was planning to start a choir, she eagerly volunteered to make beautiful fitted dresses for the choristers. It was a tremendous undertaking, and today we are still blessed by her generosity and skill. This fall I had the pleasure of getting to know Maureen a little better. She is quite a storyteller, and she gave me permission to share this story.
When Maureen was in grade ten biology, she had to study the lifecycle of the Anopheles Mosquito for a province-wide exam. She attended a Catholic, private, all-girls school in Winnipeg, and was in the Latin and Music class – in her words “the school nerds.” The girls studied together but found it challenging to memorize all the terminology for this little mosquito. Since they were mostly music students, they did what music students do best; they put the lifecycle to music! By the time the exam came, they answered all the questions with the help of the music running through their minds.
Thank you, Maureen, for your tremendous support over our 10 years!
Shortly after the exam, the girls of the Latin and Music class were called to the biology classroom. In the room, sat the principal, the biology teacher, and two men in suits all looking very serious. The biology teacher began to speak, but the principal, who was a nun, curtly cut in, and said “We know you cheated. We just want to know how you did it.” The girls were dumbfounded. They were the “goody-two-shoes.” The teacher explained that all their answers had the same wording and even the same mistakes. They must have cheated.
One of the girls figured it out, and she started to hum their Anopheles Mosquito song. The other girls got it and they joined in. The biology teacher started beaming, and the principal shook her head and said “I should have known.” The girls marks and honour were restored.
– A story from Maureen Russell as told by Julie Gourley