|HONORÉ-MERCIER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GETS VISIT FROM CELEBRITY POP STAR GRAD MIRELLA|
MONTREAL, MARCH 13, 2003- Pop star Mirella Dell’Aquila returned for a visit to her former elementary school, Honoré-Mercier in St. Léonard, on Thursday, March 13 at 10:30 a.m. This is part of an ongoing English Montreal School Board program which showcases alumni who have gone on to high profile careers.
Mirella was greeted by teacher Jimmy Trevisonno and EMSB Vice-Chairman Dominic Spiridigliozzi, the commissioner for St. Leonard. She went on a brief tour down memory lane, visiting some classrooms and former teachers Diane Beaudoin (kindergarten), Jenny Panetta (Grade 2) and Francine Poisson (Grade 5). Ms. Beaudoin found a picture Mirella had drawn of her mother and father 16 years ago. Mirella was accorded a loud standing ovation from almost 600 students in Grades 1 to 6 as she entered the gymnasium to speak. She stressed the importance of education and spoke adoringly about Honoré-Mercier, which she graduated from in 1994. The 21-year old went on to attend high school at nearby Laurier Macdonald.
Students had many questions for Mirella. At the urging of Mr. Spiridigliozzi, she agreed sing two songs. Mirella is part of the popular musical group called Sugar Jones, which was formed among the winning participants from the original Canadian television version of Pop Stars. Sugar Jones has recorded one album together and it sold platinum (100,000 copies in Canada). Their hit song Days Like That still remains popular on the charts. Mirella has spent a considerable amount of time in the studio lately, recording some songs for her yet to be released solo album. She is taking part in the writing process and collaborating with other singers and songwriters.
Mirella had four years of classical vocal training, one year of dance training (ballet, jazz, and hip-hop) and studied for one year in the music program at Vanier College in Montreal. In 1997 and 1999, Mirella with her band Pink & Blue entered and captured first place at two local "Battle of the Bands" contests. As a result, the band cut two demo CDs and were featured prominently in the local Montreal entertainment weekly Hour. Many Montreal radio stations interviewed them live and played their original material. In the summer of 1997, at the tender age of 16, Mirella opened up for Quebec singing star Mitsou. A year earlier she was a finalist in the Salon Pepsi Jeunesse contest held at Olympic Stadium.
Mirella listens to pop, R & B and some country-pop crossover artists, such as Shania Twain, whom she describes as her idol. "I respect her as a Canadian woman artist," says Mirella. "As a singer/songwriter, she has gone through so much to become what she is today. She is also a very grounded, down-to-earth, focused person." As for her future career path, Mirella says, "I honestly don’t see myself as anything but a singer/entertainer or some other form of artist, even something to do with drawing or painting."
Michael J. Cohen