EMCS Concert Band performing last year at Band Fest at the University of Victoria. (Neal Beattie photo)

EMCS Concert Band performing last year at Band Fest at the University of Victoria. (Neal Beattie photo)

Sooke youth bands hit high notes at MusicFest

Gold standard music coming out of Sooke schools, according to national judges

Gold standard talent is rising from Sooke schools.

According to judges at MusicFest Canada, four music groups at Journey and Edward Milne Community School play at a gold level. On the other hand, three groups were given silver, and one earned bronze.

The awards aren’t a typical competition where only one group wins. That style of competition has gone out of practice, said music teacher Lorna Bjorklund.

Instead, bands, quartets, orchestras, drumlines and more are evaluated by judges who determine what standard the playing meets.

“It gives you a standard to achieve. You’re competing against yourself,” Bjorklund said.

About 240,000 students enter regional festivals every year, hoping to play at a high enough standard to earn invitations to the national festival. From Sooke, three bands, two orchestras and two drumlines qualified at last year’s regionals in Port Alberni and were invited to nationals, which were, of course, cancelled.

The festival resumed this year virtually, so those seven groups submitted recorded performances to MusicFest instead of travelling to Calgary, where nationals were scheduled. Judges review the three recordings, assign a standard of either gold, silver, bronze or merit. Then each group gets to do a clinic to work on their pieces with the renowned judges.

Journey Middle School’s beginning and Grade 8 concert bands, conducted by Bjorklund, both earned gold. The Edward Milne Community School concert band with Grades 9 through 12 earned silver.

The School District 62 Orchestra, conducted by Maria Wang, earned bronze, and the string quartet dubbed the Wolfgang Quartet earned silver.

The junior drumline conducted by Alex Mold and Chris Rivollier earned silver, and the senior drumline earned gold.

ALSO READ: West Shore schools to receive infrastructure upgrades


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