Lorna Bjorklund

Sooke music students off to national competition

Grade 7-12 band earns an invitation to prestigious event

Last May you heard about how music students from Journey Middle (JMS) and Edward Milne community schools had been extremely successful when they attended MusicFest Canada in Vancouver, a national music competition attended by 450,000 students from across the country. They were so successful in fact, that they are now beginning the journey toward their goal of performing at nationals again.

On April 8, 2015 the Sooke bands and orchestras returned home from an amazing day at the Vancouver Island Concert Band & Orchestra Festival in Port Alberni. This is a regional competition where the music students perform in the hope of earning a place at the national competition. The children also attend workshops with tutors who are experts in their field, helping the students to become more skillful musicians.

This was a climax to months of dedication and practice, seeing music students from both schools, coming together every week to facilitate learning and promote advancement. This was a great learning experience, especially for those students who began their musical studies in September of last year.

Sooke was well represented at the festival with three school bands, a string orchestra and an ensemble. Lorna Bjorklund, JMS music teacher, enlightens us by saying, “It is satisfying and wonderful to see the program grow from 25 students to 87 students in band and strings from grades 6-12 and a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the youth in Sooke.”

The Grade 6 band, which performed at Level 2, was conducted by Lorna Bjorklund. This band only began playing together in October of last year and was awarded Excellent for their performance. Judges praised them for their remarkable progress in such a short time.

The Grade 7-12 band, a collaboration of both schools, also performed at Level 2 and received a Superior rating which earned them an invitation to the Nationals. This group was again conducted by Lorna Bjorklund.

The Grade 9-12 band performed at Level 3 with some very challenging music pieces. This group was conducted by EMCS music teacher Laurel Parliament and was awarded Excellent for their performance.

The Journey String Orchestra is comprised of JMS students in Grades 7-8. This group was conducted by Mary Clarke, a very special volunteer, and they were awarded Superior rating which also earned them an invitation to the Nationals.

The Journey String Ensemble, five students from Grade 8, received a Superior rating for their performance earning them an invitation to the Nationals, again, conducted by Mary Clarke.

“From Journey’s beginning band and strings to our combined ‘Sooke intermediate’ and ‘Sooke Senior Concert Bands’, the student musicians represented Sooke with musicality, decorum on stage and listening and learning skills in the workshops… well done,” applauded Laurel Parliament.

One parent chaperone on the day spoke of how much pleasure it was to watch the children performing and to see how proud they were of themselves, and what they had achieved.

Parents and family were treated to a polished concert by these students on April 23, 2015. The students performed the musical pieces they had played at Port Alberni, which got them such wonderful results. As a parent of two music students… we are truly blessed.

It must be acknowledged that without the care of the Sooke community, showing your moral and financial support in attending local fundraising performances and concerts, a trip to a regional and national competition would not be possible.

If these  great ambassadors for Sooke, and wonderful group of students, could have one wish, it would be that the community continue to support fundraising efforts, attend concerts, and continue to support them in their ongoing future music education.

Well done Sooke music students!

Joanne Baines

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