The Ottawa tour band at D.P. Todd secondary school recently returned from MusicFest Canada 2010 with a silver level standing.
There were 61 D.P. Todd students among 10,000 from across the country that participated in the event. Each band is awarded gold, silver or bronze in their category. The categories range from level 100 to 600, signifying years of experience. The D. P. Todd concert band was at level 300, which means the students have three or four years of experience, explained Susan Klein, musical director at D.P. Todd. The kids in the band are from Grade 10 through 12.
The students were recommended to attend the Canadian event during the local MusicFest Fanfare where bands competed for top spot in April at Vanier Hall.
The students were in Ottawa for six days, which allowed for visits to the parliament building, the war museum, the national gallery, as well as going to performances at MusicFest.
One of the most proud moments during the competition for Klein was the sight reading competition.
"It was the chance to see all their hard work come together," said Klein. "The students were given a piece of music they had never seen before and were allowed to talk about it for 10 minutes and then play it. They did very well. It was the most rewarding part of the festival for me."
The MusicFest honour award for the Ottawa tour band went to Briann Audet, a Grade 11 percussionist.
"She got the award because of her commitment, her great attitude and teamwork she demonstrates as a member of the band," said Klein, who recommended Audet for the award.
As a result of how well this trip went, there are more travel plans in the works.
"This is such a wonderful group to travel with, we are now confident that our plans to go to Cuba on a week-long exchange next year will go through successfully," Klein said. As part of the exchange the students will go into Cuban schools and into the communities to teach their music. Klein said music is a vital part of Cuban culture, so the kids are in for a real treat.
To help offset costs for next year's trip there will be a lot of fundraising going on, Klein added.
The Jazz Extravaganza will be held at D.P. Todd on Sunday at 2 p.m., with the school band performing along with well-known Vancouver trumpet player, Donnie Clark, who has played with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald. Clark travels around the province performing and holding workshops in an effort to encourage students to continue studies in music.
The Duchess Park band, Bel Canto jazz singers and the D.P. Todd show choir will also be performing. Tickets are $15, with proceeds going to the Cuba trip.
D.P. Todd's music department will also hold a year-end concert June 9 at 7 p.m. at the school. The free event is a showcase of talent in celebration of the school year.