Tisdale has resumed its annual appreciation night after a year hiatus, recognizing and awarding local provincial winners from the past two years including the Tisdale & District Strings and Tisdale Riverdogs.
The Town of Tisdale’s parks and recreation department organizes the awards, which is now on its 40th year.
“We have amazing athletes and talented musical artists in our midst and they deserve recognition in our community when they bring home the gold,” said Lesley Thibault, the department’s director.
“It’s extremely impressive for a community our size, and we want to honour those who amplify outstanding skill and determination to climb to the very top of the province. Being the best at something in our province, now that’s an impressive accomplishment to celebrate.”
Tisdale Riverdogs were recognized for taking home the 2021 Softball Saskatchewan U14 B Provincial Champions title.
Players included Arianna Hood, Denae Seckinger, Jaida Wallington, Megan Enns, Kali Nowosad, Sierra Lipka, Julia Leicht, Abigail Clark, Sophia Cortus, Kendall Stegemann, Ayden Kehrig, Alexis Jacobson and Raylene McKay. The team’s head coach is Troy Leicht, while Kim Gisi, Julia Wallington, Brittany Lamb were assistant coaches.
Kali Cortus, the team’s manager, said COVID-19 was the biggest challenge of the year. When they started the season they didn’t know if they would be able to play any games with regulations still up in the air. Despite this, the team played weekly in the winter months, moving to twice weekly when they could play outside.
Even if they didn’t play games, Cortus said it was worth it.
“Even just back when we started practicing there wasn’t a lot going on,” Cortus said. “There was no hockey, there was no nothing. So it was even just a chance for the girls to be around their peers and their teammates.”
The first league game, held in June, was a double-header against Watrous. Other teams they would face in the season included Humboldt, Muenster and Lanigan. While the Riverdogs didn’t win them all, the team secured a silver medal from exhibition games in Moose Jaw before heading to provincials.
At provincials, they faced a familiar opponent, bringing them head to head once again with Watrous.
“Watrous was kicking our pants early in the tournament and we were down 10-0,” she said. “We got our you-know-what together with some runs and plays, came back but still fell short 18-15.”
Spirit undefeated, the team preserved the next two days before facing the finals, a rematch against the team that beat them.
“We got this, we don’t got this, stay hydrated, it’s hot – these are all of the things said over and over that Sunday afternoon. It took two extra innings and a lot of stress, I literally paced for 25,000 steps for that day but we did it. We took Watrous for the gold medal in double innings.”
Tisdale & District Strings
The Tisdale and District Strings celebrated nine of their students.
Alicia Vopni-Summach, one of the instructors, said that they followed school regulations, when the schools went online the Tisdale & District Strings followed. When they resumed, in-person with masks and distancing, the Strings returned.
“The local music festivals were in-person, masks, social distance, limited audience,” Vopni-Summach said. “Provincial level was recorded and sent in, which adds a whole other level of weirdness to the year since provincials are in-person in Saskatoon, Regina or Prince Albert, but this last year they were recorded here, put on YouTube and sent.”
Vopni-Summach said the students adapted well, although some did choose to drop during the online sessions, and resume when they returned to in-person.
“Pretty much everybody adapted, you just do what you have to do so you can keep on going.”
Sefryn Larsen received the 2020 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 1 classical violin, the 2021 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 2 classical violin, and the 2020 Nell King Award for strings.
Abigail Summach received the 2020 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 2 classical violin.
Jennifer Summach received the 2020 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 2 classical voice, and the 2021 Province of Saskatchewan 12 and under excellence class for strings.
Rhesa Petersen received the 2020 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 4 Classical Voice, and the 2021 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 5 classical voice.
Tori Baerg received the 2020 Conservatory Canada Medical for Excellence in Grade 5 piano.
Samuel Petersen received the 2020 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 5 classical violin.
William Heavin received the 2020 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 4 violin.
Mackenzie Thesen received the 2021 Conservatory Canada Medal for Excellence in Grade 1 classical violin, and the 2021 Nell King Award for strings.
Keely Hadwen received the 2021 Harry & Sylvia Novak Memorial Scholarship.
Tisdale & District Strings instructors Rebecca Hankins-Vopni and Vopni-Summach were also awarded by the town.
Volunteer of the Year Lifetime Achievement award
While the event usually awards a volunteer of the year lifetime achievement award, this year the award remained unclaimed, with no nominations. Thibault attributed the lack of nominations for the category to the private nature of the event.
Typically the town gathers the winning athletes and musicians through contacting various organizations so they can step forward and nominate themselves, something that doesn’t necessarily work with individual volunteer nominations.
“I think next year we need to put out the word a little bit better and get some people to step up and nominate some people because we have multiple individuals that would fit that role perfectly,” Thibault said.
“There was a lot of uncertainty with being able to hold an event like this too, so it started out tentative, tentative, tentative.”
Jessica Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal