Two School District 83 schools made submissions to a nation-wide music challenge where the classes stand to win thousands of dollars in prizes or the chance to be featured at the 2020 Paralympic Games.
CBC’s Canadian Music Class Challenge was started to promote music education and Canadian music in schools across the country, and Bastion and Hillcrest elementary schools have taken on the challenge. Both schools sent in videos of their students performing songs chosen from a list of pre-approved Canadian songs and are now awaiting results.
They’re vying for a grand prize of $5,000 in new musical instruments or repairs, to be awarded to the class showing the most passion while performing their song. There are also eight first-place prizes of $3,000 in instruments or repairs that will go to the top classes in each age category, plus a gold-record plaque.
Second and third place winners in each age category will also receive a gold-record plaque. Two $1,000 prizes in instruments or repairs can be won for the best performance of the song Human by Twin Flames and the best music class from outside of the regular school curriculum.
Bastion Elementary’s music teacher Shannon MacLachlan started teaching her classes the songs she wanted to submit in early September and started recording the videos on Nov. 22.
A 142-person choir made up of grades 4 and 5 students were joined by 16 more students playing a variety of instruments to perform their rendition of Shine. The video took MacLachlan nine hours to edit.
Some students were apprehensive about singing on camera but, by the end, every student was excited to see their final product.
“I think it was a really great thing to be involved with because a lot of the kids really changed their minds about performing and putting together a big piece of music,” she said.
Bastion also submitted a video of their 70-student choir made up of grades 2 to 5 students singing J’entends le moulin.
As to why MacLachlan wanted to participate, the biggest draw was the challenge itself.
“I thought it would be something that would really light a fire under some of the kids who really didn’t know why we bother taking music at school,” she said. “There are so many layers as to why music education is important, but what I wanted them to do was really enjoy it.”
The top 10 submissions in each of the four main categories will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 10. Winners will be announced one week later on Tuesday, Dec. 17.