Katie Gray

Belmont music students ready for showcase

Annual Year End Concert at Belmont secondary promises a round of music for just about every genre

Belmont students are shining up their horns and clearing out their spit valves as they prepare for their annual Year End Concert at the school on June 6.

Every year the music department gives its students the chance to showcase all they’ve learned over the past year and entertain the public with a top-notch year end extravaganza.

“We have an immense amount of talent here at Belmont and it never ceases to amaze me, the amount of creativity that comes out of these students.” said music director Mandart Chan. “There’s some guiding … but it’s not teacher driven, it’s all within themselves.”

Grade 10 student Justin Lavoie is excited to take part in his first Year End Concert.

“I pursued it in middle school and then I really wanted to pursue it here because I already knew the music program was really awesome,” Lavoie said. “It’s been my first year and it’s gone really well. It’s like its own little family here.”

Lavoie looks forward to performing “It Was a Lover and His Lass” with the choir, a tune based on a Shakespeare poem and arranged by the Swingle Sisters.

“It’s an upbeat, kind of love jazzy tune. It’s nice,” Lavoie said. “It’s not just a high school performance, it’s actually a bunch of musicians getting together and putting on a real show.”

Katie Gray, who graduates from Belmont this year, has been involved in music from a young age, growing up in a musical family.

“It’s kind of the one thing here at Belmont that’s kept me sane,” Gray said. “It’s a community, sort of a family group of people. It’s really cool to see how everyone builds each other up.”

Gray looks forward to performing the African song “Shosholoza” and “Lassus Trombone,” for which there will be 13 trombones playing, including current and former student musicians.

Multiple stages will be set up ahead of time to keep the flow of the evening moving and to maximize the music. There will be a stage for choral groups, one for the jazz bands and another for the concert band.

“We basically transform our south gym into this spectacular concert hall,” said Chan. “No one notices that it’s even the gym anymore.”

The night will also feature student-led combos and soloists, featuring music the students prepared themselves. Sometimes this includes original pieces.

One Grade 10 combo will play a Red Hot Chilli Peppers song and the Grade 12 musicians will be perform an original composition by peer Jordan Beischer.

“It’s a very heartfelt composition that he wrote,” Chan said. “It truly incorporates his 13 years in the Sooke School District and it’s a bit of tearjerker.”

The night will include seven performance ensembles, including concert band, two jazz bands, concert choir, two vocal jazz groups and the R&B band. Jazz combos will also be featured, along with the solo combos.

The concert starts at 6 p.m. and runs until about 8 p.m. Admission is by donation and the concert is open to the public.