The Quesnel Junior School strings section. (Submitted photo)

Letter: A year in review

Quesnel Junior School band teacher Anita Mamela shares the accomplishments of her students this year

By Anita Mamela

Band teacher at Quesnel Junior School

As the end of the school year is around the corner, I wanted to take time to share and recognize the accomplishments of the students in the Music Program at Quesnel Junior School. They really did outstanding work!

In the fall, the two classes of Strings students and I collaborated on an arrangement of “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne that was recorded and entered into the CBC Music Class Challenge. Using that as a starting point, another arrangement was written, recorded, and submitted by the students in the two Concert Band classes. These arrangements needed parts for diverse skill levels as some students had just begun on their instruments in September. The Concert Band was selected as one of the Top Ten in Canada in the Instrumental Category. We later held a Fall Concert and the groups performed at our QJS Remembrance Day Ceremony.

The cold winter temperatures and a snow storm had our Christmas Concert postponed twice. The Concert Band travelled to Barkerville to play during the Victorian Christmas Celebrations, drink hot chocolate, walk and shop the town and hit the Tube Run. By the time we arrived back at Quesnel, so much snow had fallen that our evening concert was postponed! Students got the next days off due to snow!

During the year, students who craved enrichment in Band had the opportunity to be part of the Quesnel Youth Honour Band. This was the second year for this group and it rehearses outside of school time and includes some students from Correlieu Secondary. The group was created as the QJS Concert Band annually qualified for MusicFest Canada—the Nationals—but could never go due to how far away the competition was held. This year, it was in Alberta and both the QJS Band and the Honour Band were going to try to go. We had a two year invite but due to changing musicians, it is always best to requalify at the regional festival. This would have been the fifth consecutive year of qualifying in the top 10 % of Canada for the students! What is so gratifying has been to see the students from the two schools come together to make music and focus at this level all on their own time. This is not a course yet their achievements have been wonderful.

I not only congratulate the students on great work but also would like to thank all the parents for supporting their child, the community for coming to our concerts and voting in the CBC Music Class Competitions, and our school staff for their support of our extra trips, rehearsals, and concerts. We even got played on CBC Radio in an afternoon broadcast! You gave us the opportunity to let the students make Quesnel very proud again!! Thank you!

Mamela contacted the Observer after submitting this letter to further recognize two of her band members, grade 12 students Aiden Kupferschmid and Christopher Henderson who started band in grade eight and have been either in Concert Band or Honour Band throughout high school. Normally the achievement of these two students would be acknowledges during a end of year assembly however this year due to COVID-19 that event has been cancelled.

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