A pitch perfect performance by the Grade 7/8 concert band and jazz band at the Pacific Northwest Music festival landed the students an invitation to MusicFest Canada.
Both bands from Prince Rupert Middle School were awarded superior ratings at the music festival in Terrace on April 22, which was why they were asked to join the annual “invite only” MusicFest. Kristy Tillman, the student’s music instructor, said the event is much too soon.
“It is in two weeks in Ottawa, which we won’t attend because it’s too close in time and distance. We’re hoping to go next year. It could be in Vancouver,” Tillman said.
There are 60 students in the Grade 7/8 band and 16 students in the jazz band and Tillman said there have been a few changes over the past five years that may explain why this group is so talented.
When the middle school was opened five years ago it gave the students more time to practice. At elementary school the band met twice a week for 45 minutes and at middle school they meet every second day for 55 minutes.
“Another reason the bands did so well is that the school district implemented Grade 5 band four years ago and so this year’s Grade 8 students are the first group of Grade 5 band students,” Tillman said.
It has been quite a year already for the middle school music students in this city. Twenty-four students from the concert band went to Edmonton for six days, April 15-20, to join a non-competitive festival.
The band performed at the Winspear Centre, a performing arts centre known for its amazing acoustics. At the festival, judges offered the students advice on how to improve their sound. The students attended workshops organized by professors and instructors from the University of Alberta.
Tillman said the concert band also took advantage of the location. Students went to West Edmonton Mall, Science World, toured the Alberta Legislature and made a stop in Jasper.