For the second year in a row, an elementary school in Saanich has won the CBC Music Challenge.
This week the halls of Cloverdale Traditional School are buzzing as their band, the Cloverdale Clovers, are winners of the national contest with their arrangement of Serena Ryder’s 2012 hit What I Wouldn’t Do.
“The buzz around the school this week is something, I tell you, the kids are pumped,” said Cloverdale Traditional elementary school music teacher Fiona Jones. “It was the first time we entered in the [challenge] and we didn’t know what to expect, we just focused on having fun with the end goal of making the video.”
The Clovers won the elementary instrumental category and earn a $5,000 prize towards new music gear.
More than 15,000 students from about 1,000 music classes across Canada each submitted a rendition from one of the 22 songs the contest made available. Cloverdale picked Ryder’s song with hopes that it might stand out against what Jones thought might be the more popular songs.
In the end, Ryder’s song was one of the top-four most used songs, as fellow top-10 finalist Campus View elementary, a 2017 winner, also submitted a rendition. Campus View was a top-10 finalist in the same elementary instrumental category as Cloverdale.
“We liked that this song had a real strong base drum beat through the whole thing and thought that would be fun, so that stood out,” Jones said. “We also liked the challenge as the kids play on an off-beat, a fun challenge for the keyboard players.”
The Clovers have dedicated lunch hours, recesses and time at home to learning and rehearsing their arrangement since September, she added. During those sessions students would share ideas and encourage each other.
“The students made suggestions, to me, and to each other, like, ‘Oh, I like that part, let’s repeat it,’ and other things like, ‘Oh, your part sounds so good, I won’t play at that part, you just play it,’” Jones said. “There was a lot of encouraging each other.”
Jones also credited volunteer parent Fraser Campbell for suggesting adding electric instruments to the composition’s traditional instruments, and Jones credits that as pushing the song to the next level.
“I loved the Cloverdale Clovers’ creative interpretation of the song, and especially their use of both traditional instruments and electronic elements in the mix,” said contest judge and CBC music producer Andrea Gin. “They have truly put their own stamp on the song — a remarkable feat for such a young group.”
The Cloverdale Clovers are Tharuli Abeysirigunawardena, Elizabeth Aquino, Lorraine Autojay, Serenity Bishop, Owen, Campbell, Cadence Campbell, Makaira Figueroa, Kurumi Hilton, Emmanuel Jaque, Lucy Jones, Eva Kelly, Brooklynn Nelson, Joshua Nyirijambo, Kamila Paulo, Noah Sexton, Gordon Vanderham, Connor Unger, River Whitecross.