Music in the schools is coming together through the hard work of music teachers and the Sooke community.
Laurel Parliament’s dream came true this year when she became the full-time music teacher in Sooke. Music is her life and she said, “My goal is to have all my elementary students singing, reading and writing music.”
She teaches elementary music at Saseenos and John Muir and is conducting the EMCS Concert Band in preparation for a concert on December 4. She was too busy in rehearsal to talk and responded to questions via email
There are 17 students in the band from Grades 9-12 with two Grade 8 students from Journey joining in for the Winter Concert.
Parliament said students from EMCS can join the band at any time and they get credit towards graduation with dual credit courses, one for concert band and one for stage and performance.
“All the extra time students will put in this year means that they will earn eight credits – well deserved,” she said.
The students are practicing in the band room at EMCS for the upcoming concert. Some students though cannot join because they don’t have an instrument.
“Our goal is to have an instrument bank (with one of each instrument) so that any student can have access to band, whether their family owns an instrument or not.” Grants have been applied for and they are accepting donations of gently used concert band instruments.
“A recent generous donation from a community member has given us a boost in our much neglected percussion equipment,” said Parliament. “He put new heads on the drum kit, acquired a ride cymbal and stand, and also donated equipment like shakers and maracas.”
The program for the Winter Concert which takes place on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at the EMCS Theatre is a mixture of small ensemble music, concert band classics and solos. Parliament said some of the unique pieces include a modern saxophone ensemble arrangement of the Huron Carole, a re-arrangement of Eye of the Tiger with solos by Matthew Miller on clarinet , Oliver Tonessen (drum kit) and Brianne Barton (percussion) and a composition for clarinet entitled Dasher and Dancer-Reindeer Ramble.
Solos will be by Matthew Miller on clarinet and Bryn Martin on flute. International student Marcos Lobato Scharfhausen will be featured in saxophone. Master of ceremonies will be Nona Robertson.
Admission is by donation, which will go towards purchasing sheet music and musical instruments.
There’s a lot more in the works for the musically-minded students in Sooke. All four elementary school will get together to share music with the Sooke Community Choir in March. EMCS and Journey middle school bands are going to the vancouver Island Concert Band Festival in April and on Music Monday during May the elementary school will be caroling around Sooke. Plus added performances by in the spring.
“It’s going to be a great year of music in Sooke,” said Parliament.