Belmont secondary’s music department is alive with the sound of music. In fact, it’s hard to find a quiet space not filled with students either making music or at the very least, talking about it.
“We’re prepping for our annual Winter Concert,” said Belmont’s music director, Mandart Chan. “It’s our third department concert in our new school.”
And while the department isn’t usually quiet, there’s an extra level of excitement buzzing from students polishing brass instruments, tuning guitars and stretching their vocal ranges.
Tomorrow (Dec. 8) is the big night, with the show getting underway at 7 p.m. The concert will see Belmont’s music department come together for one of the biggest performances of the year.
“I’ve been part of it for four years and it’s pretty great,” said Grade 12 student Jacqueline Hughes. “It’s never boring in the music rooms.”
Grade 11 student Cam Jousi added, “it’s a lot of practicing … all of us are in almost everything.” While that means meeting most days before school, at lunch and/or after school to practice, he said students also spend a lot of time practising at home to make sure they get the pieces just right.
“We just can’t get enough music,” joked Grade 11 student Yohanna Vangenne. “I love almost everything we do.”
In honour of that, the Winter Concert will feature two student combos. “There’s usually two to recognize the work we’re doing outside of school,” noted Hughes.
But those aren’t the only performances scheduled for the concert. “There’s a brass choir that’s doing a piece – it’s called ‘Fanfare for the Common Man,’” Jousi said. And while it’s a classical piece, he noted, “it’s pretty intense.”
Vangenne joked that’s her favourite type of classical music.
“And then there’s concert choir,” she said. “There’s two … classes that come together for performances.” That group will perform three pieces along with another that includes some audience participation.
“There’s jazz band as well,” noted Hughes. “We’ve got four pieces we’re performing.”
Last year, the department decided to use multiple venues for the concert to highlight the range of performances. “It was one of the most beautiful ideas,” Chan said. “The audience will move with us. We’ll start in the learning commons and work our way down.” The learning commons, on the second floor of the building, is a beautiful room with floor to ceiling glass windows that overlook Langford Lake. “At night it just comes to life,” he said.
Performing in that space will be the two large ensembles – the concert band and choir – as well as the first student combo highlighting work done outside of class, and a jazz combo.
During intermission the drumline will perform in the foyer before the audience transitions to the theatre for R&B, vocal jazz, jazz band and the final student combo, which features a rock theme and promises to be a little wild.
“Seating is limited so get there early,” Hughes said.
The theatre can only accommodate 300 people. Tickets are based on a first-come, first-served basis tomorrow night.
Admission is by donation, with “any of the door proceeds going back to the music department,” Chan said. The funds will help offset costs of equipment and trips.
Since the concert is also the night after the school’s annual 10,000 Tonight food drive, the department is also collecting non-perishable food items for the Goldstream Food Bank.
“It’s been an amazing three months. I can’t believe it’s already December,” Chan said. “(The students) pretty much live here.”