Victoria’s Other Secret on stage for their Super Ball show in February. The band of Mount Doug teachers has raised $11,000 for charity so far. (Graham McLaren Photo)

Victoria’s Other Secret not so secret anymore

How six Mount Doug teachers turned a lunch jam into $11,000 raised for charity

What started as a way to have fun at lunch has turned into a six-member band that’s raised $11,000 for charity causes.

The six-member band of Mount Douglas secondary teachers call themselves Victoria’s Other Secret and are booked all the way ahead to February when they’ll play their annual Super Ball, a fundraiser show of rock covers the night before football’s Super Bowl.

As summer comes to an end, and most of the group return from their travels, the band is getting ready to get back at it. They will learn 30 songs, about 2.5 hours of playing, for each show.

READ ALSO: Mount Doug Rams come out on top of blood donor challenge

(Inset photo: Members of Victoria’s Other Secret, from left, Alan Williams, Ben Greene, Doug Awai, Janine Dukes​ Danny McMillan and Graham McLaren. Graham McLaren Photo)

“It takes a lot of time to prepare,” said English and drama teacher Alan Williams, who sings and taps the tambourine and other light percussion. “It’s been a hoot. It’s certainly been a great thing to discover in my 40s.”

They’ve done three events at the Legion and in 2018 hosted a show at White Eagle Hall in James Bay where they sold 200 tickets. Other Mount Doug teachers volunteered to run the bar and clean up after, saving money and adding to their charity proceeds.

The band started when Danny McMillan, a social studies and physical education teacher, took to playing the drums in the band room at lunch. He invited Williams to sing despite having no musical background. Drafting teacher and rowing coach Graham McLaren, English teacher Ben Greene and education assistant Janine Dukes joined too.

Eventually the band teacher, Doug Awai, came on board. They’d been meeting weekly for two years when they signed up for their first gig, joining the annual Mount Douglas talent show.

Initially they played straight rock music but they’ve adapted. The band’s goal is to get people up and moving.

“Rock was our go-to,” Williams said. “Some songs people responded to. We also added some R&B, funk and hip hop. As we do fundraisers, people come to dance, we realized more and more what works for that.”

Williams and Dukes sing, Awai plays bass, keyboard, saxophone, guitar, and vocals, Greene plays guitar, keys, bass and harmonica, McLaren plays guitar and bass and McMillan plays drums. Dukes remains a member though she moved to Saint Michaels University School.

“Our first show was 500 people, lots of students, it was nerve-racking,” recalled Williams. “Then we kept playing and doing school functions.”

In 2016, Victoria’s Other Secret joined other teachers from the district in hosting a fundraiser for Syrian refugees at the Gorge Legion that brought in $1,600.

Since 2016, the group has steered away from playing at Mount Doug and schedules its own gigs, such as the Super Ball. Each show is a different charity. They’ve donated to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis aid (Cassie’s Place), First Nation awareness (Gord Downie’s charity) and others, usually inspired by Mount Doug students.

“We thought our first show outside Mount Doug, our first real gig, would be a one-off,” Williams said. “But we had so much fun with it.

“The more you play, the more you’re comfortable. We have a little more stage presence now.”

READ MORE: Teachers take to the stage to benefit refugees

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Esquimalt speed skating week helps province determine find fastest skater

Speed Week takes place on Dec. 17 at Archie Browning arena

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

Goldstream church offers free festive feast

Gordon United Church says all are welcome to attend Monday’s meal

VIDEO: Over 2,000 pounds of food collected for annual View Royal Fire Santa Run

Non-perishables, plus more than $3000 raised for Goldstream Food Bank

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read