Victoria’s Other Secret on stage for their Super Ball show in February. The band of Mount Doug teachers has raised $11,000 for charity so far. (Graham McLaren Photo)

Victoria’s Other Secret not so secret anymore

How six Mount Doug teachers turned a lunch jam into $11,000 raised for charity

What started as a way to have fun at lunch has turned into a six-member band that’s raised $11,000 for charity causes.

The six-member band of Mount Douglas secondary teachers call themselves Victoria’s Other Secret and are booked all the way ahead to February when they’ll play their annual Super Ball, a fundraiser show of rock covers the night before football’s Super Bowl.

As summer comes to an end, and most of the group return from their travels, the band is getting ready to get back at it. They will learn 30 songs, about 2.5 hours of playing, for each show.

READ ALSO: Mount Doug Rams come out on top of blood donor challenge

(Inset photo: Members of Victoria’s Other Secret, from left, Alan Williams, Ben Greene, Doug Awai, Janine Dukes​ Danny McMillan and Graham McLaren. Graham McLaren Photo)

“It takes a lot of time to prepare,” said English and drama teacher Alan Williams, who sings and taps the tambourine and other light percussion. “It’s been a hoot. It’s certainly been a great thing to discover in my 40s.”

They’ve done three events at the Legion and in 2018 hosted a show at White Eagle Hall in James Bay where they sold 200 tickets. Other Mount Doug teachers volunteered to run the bar and clean up after, saving money and adding to their charity proceeds.

The band started when Danny McMillan, a social studies and physical education teacher, took to playing the drums in the band room at lunch. He invited Williams to sing despite having no musical background. Drafting teacher and rowing coach Graham McLaren, English teacher Ben Greene and education assistant Janine Dukes joined too.

Eventually the band teacher, Doug Awai, came on board. They’d been meeting weekly for two years when they signed up for their first gig, joining the annual Mount Douglas talent show.

Initially they played straight rock music but they’ve adapted. The band’s goal is to get people up and moving.

“Rock was our go-to,” Williams said. “Some songs people responded to. We also added some R&B, funk and hip hop. As we do fundraisers, people come to dance, we realized more and more what works for that.”

Williams and Dukes sing, Awai plays bass, keyboard, saxophone, guitar, and vocals, Greene plays guitar, keys, bass and harmonica, McLaren plays guitar and bass and McMillan plays drums. Dukes remains a member though she moved to Saint Michaels University School.

“Our first show was 500 people, lots of students, it was nerve-racking,” recalled Williams. “Then we kept playing and doing school functions.”

In 2016, Victoria’s Other Secret joined other teachers from the district in hosting a fundraiser for Syrian refugees at the Gorge Legion that brought in $1,600.

Since 2016, the group has steered away from playing at Mount Doug and schedules its own gigs, such as the Super Ball. Each show is a different charity. They’ve donated to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis aid (Cassie’s Place), First Nation awareness (Gord Downie’s charity) and others, usually inspired by Mount Doug students.

“We thought our first show outside Mount Doug, our first real gig, would be a one-off,” Williams said. “But we had so much fun with it.

“The more you play, the more you’re comfortable. We have a little more stage presence now.”

READ MORE: Teachers take to the stage to benefit refugees

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read