Come on out to our spring potluck on May 22! The fall potluck was such a success, we thought we would invite everyone out again for an evening of food, socializing and entertainment. The science department discovery night is happening on the same night, so you can come early, get some dinner, listen to some great music and head on over to the science wing to catch their open house. The students were given flyers this week to make everyone aware of what’s going on. Ask your music student for details.
Students will be receiving a form this week so that we can start processing the refunds for the breakfast amount that was not used. Please read the form and consider making a donation to help out some students with the cost of next year’s trip. If you would like a cheque, please make sure the form is returned before May 21. Thank you.
The Senior Tour to Seattle and the Grade 9 Tour to Whistler are over and the evaluation forms have been collated. We have posted hard copies up in the band room, as well as here on the website.There are some really funny and also really insightful comments from the students. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
First, a thanks goes out to the students for making the trip to Seattle such a success. Not only did the students make some great music and win some awards, more importantly, they conducted themselves – on stage and off, at the hotel, during activities, everywhere we went – in an exemplary manner. It was the small gestures that were most telling; taking time to thank people, their politeness in their interactions at the hotel, festival site, or with each other, their confidence and graciousness; they represented the school and their families with grace and poise. Bravo.
We would also like to thank the parents for their support for the trip. We had one of the largest traveling groups in recent history – 124 students performing in 7 ensembles. The trip would not have been possible without the help and support of so many of you. Thank you.
The festival really was a trip to another culture. The competitive nature of the Seattle festival is quite different from what we usually encounter in Canada. While we share so much in common with the U.S.A., their approach to music festivals really gives us a peek into another way of playing and experiencing the making of music. The students performed exceedingly well and won a number of awards.
The festival entrants are divided into 3 categories based on school size. We are considered a ‘AA’ school, which is the middle category. Entrants compete in their category, but can elect to bump up a category if they desire; entrants are not allowed to move down. When we arrived, we found that on the instrumental side – concert band, jazz band, and strings – we were the only entrants at ‘AA’. This meant that Symphonic Band and Senior Strings would be the only entrants in their categories and would have no one to compete against. For Jazz A and Jazz B, they would be competing only with each other. On the choir side it was different; the Concert Choir had competition at ‘AA’, but Vocal Jazz and Chamber Choir were the only entrants at ‘AA’, meaning that they also had no one to compete against. Using a criterion referenced system, groups without competition would be rated Gold, Silver, Bronze, Participation, or Festival, but there would be no First, Second, or Third. If we elected to bump some groups up a level, there would be competition, but then the standards go up accordingly.
After the instrumental groups performed on Friday, we gathered the students together to discuss what they wanted to do. Did they want to stay at ‘AA’ and not compete, or did they want to move some groups up to ‘AAA’ and compete against larger schools? This was the choice we put to the students when we sent them off to their rooms for the night. When the teacher chaperones did room check, we had an opportunity to discuss things with the students. It was pretty much unanimous that we bump up the groups with no competition up to ‘AAA’ to see how we might fare.
This meant that Symphonic Band would be in the most competitive category with the highest number of entrants, the jazz bands would be in a medium sized pool, and Strings and Vocal Jazz would be in relatively small pools in their respective disciplines. All of this was academic for Chamber Choir, as there were no other entrants in the Chamber Choir category at ‘AA’ or ‘AAA’. Our results were as follows:
Concert Choir – Gold; 1st place
Chamber Choir – Gold
Vocal Jazz – Gold; 1st place
Jazz A – Silver; 2nd place
Jazz B – Silver; 3rd place
Symphonic Band – Silver
Senior Strings – Silver; 2nd place
There were approximately 700 students in various disciplines performing at the festival. From all of the groups, the adjudication teams chose 8 students for special recognition. Two of the 8 students chosen were from Point Grey – quite an achievement for these two!
Helen Lin – Piccolo
Irene Ng – Piano (for her accompanist skills with choir.)
In addition, there were some other awards given to schools based on overall achievement. The Adjudicators’ Awards were given to directors in the instrumental and choral divisions. Taylor Collishaw was recognized for this award in choral – a big achievement. Also, her choirs were invited to perform at elite festivals held in prestigious locations around North America.
Taylor’s choirs were also recognized with two other awards: One for the top choir at the festival (the Chamber Choir), and the Choir Sweepstakes award. The Choir Sweepstakes is awarded to the school with the two highest choir scores at the festival – in our case, the Chamber Choir and the Concert Choir.
The award that we were most excited about was the Overall Sweepstakes award. This award is given to a school that has the highest achievement across a number of musical disciplines. In order to qualify, schools have to enter at least one choir, one concert band, and a third group in any discipline (Concert Band, Concert Choir, Jazz Band, Jazz Choir, or Strings). It is important to remember that most of our groups were competing above their category. In spite of that, we won the Overall Sweepstakes, a tribute to the hard work and effort of our students.
Congratulations to all.