Friday, 21 February 2014

Rumours about Next Year and Registration Information

Registration is an interesting time of year, and I often hear rumours that are not based in an ounce of truth.  Here are a few things you might need to know about band followed by a letter from our Arts Department Head about all arts courses for next year.

Band Rumours I have heard over the past month.

1.  If you did not take band last year, you cannot take it next year.  NOT TRUE.  I can teach... I just need the willing.

2. If you did not take Jazz Band in middle school you cannot take jazz band in high school... NOT TRUE. I can teach... I just need the willing.

3. If you did not take Jazz Band in grade 9 or 10  you cannot take jazz band in high school... NOT TRUE.  I can teach... I just need the willing.

4.  there is a huge audition to get into band or jazz.  NOT TRUE. Register and you are in.  Period.  It is that easy.

5.  The band program is being cut or scaled down.  NOT TRUE.  We have the largest band program in our division and we are continuing to grow.... so much so that an expansion of our band facilities has been added to the division's priority list.

If you hear anything that sounds ridiculous... it probably is.

The Arts registration information at Westwood Collegiate


Westwood Collegiate is known for its quality performing and visual arts programming. We are proud to introduce the line up of excellent arts courses available to your child that include: Band, Choral, Dance, Drama, Graphic Technology, Musical Theatre, and Visual Arts.

Changes to the Arts Major program

In the past years students had receive and Arts Major Diploma for successfully completing general Arts courses and advanced Arts courses called Arts Major. Starting this year, this is no longer the case. The province of Manitoba has limited the number of diplomas handed out at graduation. That effectively eliminated the Arts Major Diploma, however, the courses offered as Arts Major are still in place. The difference is that those courses are now called Fine Arts courses for Grades 9 and 10, and IB courses for Grades 11 and 12. In addition to having the advanced Arts courses students can earn an IB diploma in a given arts discipline.

All Arts courses are offered for credit

All General Arts courses offered at Westwood are one-credit courses. Most of those courses are one semester in length offered every day, or full year course offered every second day, and are open to all interested students.
All Fine Arts courses are an additional one credit advanced courses offered to skilled students and require either an audition or an interview to be accepted. Fine Arts courses are offered in the areas of Music, Dance, Drama, and Visual Arts. Those courses are taken
in addition to a general course, giving your child two credits at the end of the school year in the arts area of their choice. Students taking Fine Arts courses in grade 9 and 10 may continue enriching their arts education with IB Arts courses in grade 11 and 12. Some of those courses may entitle students to university credits depending on their field of study.

Courses offered outside of regular timetable

Not all arts courses fall within the regular school day of 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. The Musical Theatre, some Jazz Band, Choral, and Dance courses, are offered outside the regular school day, but they are also valued at one-credit each. Those courses can be taken instead of, or in addition to, the required two General Art courses scheduled in the regular school day.

Why registering early is important

The number of courses offered and class sizes depend on the number of registrations received in early March. Some courses have a limited number of spots available and late registrations may not be accepted. Also, there is a minimum number of participants required for any given course. An insufficient number of participants at the time of registration may result in course cancellation.

Registering for Fine Arts courses

If you wish to take a Fine Arts course you must register for it in February. By registering in advance for a Fine Arts course, you tell your Westwood arts teacher that you wish to have an audition or an interview to be considered for this program. The teacher will then contact you to make arrangements for an audition or interview time. After the audition the teacher will contact you again as to whether you have gained entrance into the course.

Musical Theatre

Musical Theatre is a very complex course, which on the surface may seem to be designed for students interested in drama, dance, or choral. However, there are many jobs open to students who are interested in Graphic Technology, Visual Arts, and even Home Economics for jobs such as set design, prop construction, program creation, photography, makeup, and costume design. Students who work behind the scenes of the musical are given one credit for their involvement, the same as students who are on the stage.

Contact us

We look forward to assisting you and your child in making informed decisions about arts education at Westwood. If you have any questions about registration for the Arts courses offered at Westwood Collegiate please feel free to contact respective teachers directly at 204-888-7650 or at the email provided below:

Band........................... Greg Edwards................ gedwards@sjsd.net
Choral........................ Alice Russell....................... arussell@sjsd.net
Dance......................... Jennifer Metelski.............. jmetelski@sjsd.net
                                    Brian Toms........................... btoms@sjsd.net
Drama........................ Sandy White ....................... swhite@sjsd.net
Graphic Technology.... Zbigniew Cichosz ............. zcichosz@sjsd.net
Musical Theatre.......... Brian Toms .......................... btoms@sjsd.net
                                    Alice Russell ...................... arussell@sjsd.net
Photography.............. Zbigniew Cichosz ............. zcichosz@sjsd.net

Visual Arts.................. Catharine Teichroew..... cteichroew@sjsd.net

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Westwood Band has Twitter

Check us out on the right hand side of this blog or follow us @bandatwestwood.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Brandon Jazz Info


New information has been posted in the Brandon Jazz Tab at the top of this page.  Posted is the itinerary and a final letter to parents and students.  This letter will be handed out in class over the next two days.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Former Westwood Drummer Nominated for a JUNO

Former Westwood student Derek Allard has made the news recently with the nomination of the Winnipeg alternate rock band Royal Canoe for a Juno for Best Alternative Album of the Year.  Derek, drummer for the band, keeps up a rigorous touring schedule and is back in town on the 22nd of Feb to play the Festival du Voyageur.

A six-piece ensemble from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Royal Canoe gives you everything but on their own maniacally hybrid terms. It's one thing to reference a particular style, or even a range of styles. It's another thing entirely to grab huge handfuls of sounds from pretty much anywhere, throw them all together and come up with something both cohesive and totally distinctive – something that also happens to ripple and crack with energy. This is what Royal Canoe does best. Royal Canoe's dedication to crafting a seamless musical pastiche is obsessive. For live shows, they’d rather lug hundreds of pounds of keyboards, mixers and pedals across the continent (very much like a voyager canoe, in fact) than rely on lengthy backing tracks. They actually play every part, every time. And while their van is packed with hardware, much of that hardware is, in turn, crammed full of widely-sourced samples and adoringly homemade sounds. Their fearlessness about using whatever they feel like is grounded, not in recklessness, but in a decisive confidence. We're Believers, the band's latest album, was released on September 3rd, 2013 in Canada and USA, with UK/Europe releases which followed in late September. 

Chek out more at their website:  Royal Canoe

I like this tune off their latest offering.....



Congratulations Derek.  Westwood Is behind you all the way!

Optimist 2014

It is that time of year again.... time for Westwood Collegiate to go out and shine at the Optimist International Band Festival.

Each year for the past 39years the Optimist Clubs of Winnipeg come to gather and volunteer their time to host the largest band festival in Canada.  Westwood is proud to say that we have had a band at the festival for 39 years in a row.... pretty cool, huh?

This year we have three bands participating in the festival.

All performances and adjudications are held on the main floor of the Winnipeg Convention centre. Admission is $2 for parents and we encourage you to bring a friend to two to support our groups, as no one likes playing for an empty audience.





You can view the festival program on line here - Optimist Festival Program 2014

For the evening performances all students are responsible for their own transportation to and from the festival and should arrive at the convention centre no later than 1 hour before their performance time to accommodate for warm-up time.

Our festival run looks like this:

Tuesday Feb 18th, with Grade 10/11 Concert Band at 7:10 in room #2.

Wednesday Feb. 19th Grade 9 Concert Band at 2:50 p.m. in room #2.  Grade 9's will be going down in 2 busses.  Field-trip forms went home yesterday and are due back on the 14th.  Students are to meet in the band room at 12:03 and the busses leave at 1:00 p.m.  Students will be back at Westwood by 4:30 p.m.

Friday  Feb. 21st  Symphonic Band at 7:05 p.m. in room #2.  Symphonic Band will be volunteering (for the third year in a row) and giving back to our community by helping the festival with clean up after their adjudication.  This will take about an hour and involves packing up of the large instruments and stacking chairs.

If during this process, if need arrises, you can text me at 204-226-3923.

Thank you in advance for supporting our bands and cheering loud.






Friday, 7 February 2014

A Note to Symphonic Band from Dr. McCullum

As you prepare for Optimist here are some things you should be thinking about.










Variations on a Korean Folksong:

There are 2 things that made your performance go from decent to phenomenal:

1)  Subdivision
2)  Articulation

For the sung lyrics:
  • Memorize the words (you already know the music)
  • Sing through beat 3
  • Sing in 4 bar phrases
  • Open your mouth - even if you don't think you have the best voice.
  • Jihun... make those antique cymbals sing out.
When you start to play at 17, you must subdivide in 16ths (1e&a, 2e&a, 3e&a, etc.)  this will stop you from playing beat 3 a bit shorter than it should be.  Remember how helpful it was when Cam played 16ths on the snare.

There are 2 Egyptians:  HA-TOO and HA-TOO.  Remember which the use of each type of articulation is extremely important to style.  Makes it.... "Looser."

Variation I:

People counting rest need to be subdividing in 16ths, so when the melody comes in it does not drag.

Remember the idea of thinking about phrases and either:

Normal (4 or 8 bars) or Abnormal (3,5,7,9 Bars)

The percussion section are the best teachers of articulations.... mallet choice = length of note.

Listen for Jihun's crash cymbal 5 before the Larghetto on beat 3!

Variation II:

This is HA-DOO and you are not breathing together hence the sloppy entrances.

Again - People counting rest need to be subdividing in 16ths, so when the melody comes in it does not drag.

Shape the accompaniment with Tamica's oboe solo.

Remember it is no longer about the notes, it is about the LINE.

Nick, with your trumpet solo at 108 don't stick out.... SOAR.

Variation III:

Trumpets we are now back to HA-TOO not HA-DOO.

As a whole, don't focus on the 16ths, instead think about the articulations.

Trumpets, don't wimp out on the dotted quarter at the end of the phrase.

Braxton sets the articulation  - using the butt end of his mallets.

Remember adjudicators are looking for the HUGE cymbal crashes at 140!

Trombones Attack is good, Sustain is good, but the release is not there.  The release needs to be mechanical and square.

Remember, t'bones to sit up like Gr. 12's and bring the instrument to you.

The End:

This is going to be conducted by Mr. Edwards in "1."  get there now.... don't wait.  This means it is going to be faster... a lot faster.  Be ready.  Dotted half note = 66-69.  So you can look to him to have the same gesture from the stick as you move from the sostinuto section into the con islancio.  Thus one beat of the 3/2 will equal on bar of the new tempo.


Siorai September:

This is all about TONE!

Individually  - Good,
as and Ensemble - not so much.

Solve it by paying more attention to the lows.  This will make your sound darker.

Who leads the crescendo?  Lows lead dynamic change.

So for a crescendo - lows grow 90% and the Highs grow 20%

Keep it dark.

Start HA-DOO.

Success in the big section at the beginning is all about starting a heck of a lot quieter at 8.

2nd and 3rd Clarinets going into 14 - you introduce the next section.... be proud not wimpy.









Concert Follow-Up

Thank you again to all the parents for all their support and applause as we celebrated our student's successes at our concert a few weeks ago.

We were just informed by the Mission to Mexico team that the silver collection from the band concert raised a staggering $989.00!!!!!!  Way to go parents and students.