Tuesday 1 December 2015

Merry Quizzmas

Merry Quizzmas is just around the corner.  What't that you say.... that would be Mr. Edwards joking title for your band midterm exam.  Quizzmas takes place in all band and jazz classes during the week of the 14th-18th.  Concert band will cover the two current selections and Jazz will cover the three current selections we are working on.  "What measures?"  you ask. Mr. Edwards replies, "all of them!"

The format will follow the same as last year.  Last year's exam rubric is posted on this site under program info.  The best thing you can do to prepare is to make sure you have a solid idea of which measures of music are giving you a problem (Circle) and then to try to knock down a circle or two at the start of each class and during sectionals.

If you have any questions please stop by and see Mr. Edwards.

Thursday 26 November 2015

We Are Awesome!

I am very pleased to announce that after a great discussion with the section leaders of the Band Program, we have moved forward with the creation of a Westwood Band Good Vibes account on Twitter.

Check out:  @wwbandgoodnotes

Here you will find only the positive supportive awesomeness that our band students are famous for.

See an event or are inspired by someone in class direct message @wwbandgoodnotes and they will post your message to the Twitter feed.

Let's light this up and make the magic of our program just a bit more public.

Monday 23 November 2015

Calling All Bruce Band Alumni

A note from Mrs. Johnson,

Hello, Bruce Band Alumni!

The Bruce Winter Concert is coming up on Wednesday, December 9th at 7pm.  All Bruce Band Alumni are invited to play a piece with the Grade 8s at the end the concert (~8pm).  I hope you are able to come and play with us!  We will not have a rehearsal.  You will be able to sight read the music.  Please let me know if you can come, so that I can plan appropriately.  :)

Looking forward to seeing you,

Mrs. Tara Johnson, Band Director
Bruce Middle School
Band Website:  www.sjsd.net/~tjohnson

Thursday 19 November 2015

Way to Go Ethan

The University of Winnipeg Men's Volleyball program is already preparing for the future. Men's Volleyball head coach Larry McKay is pleased to announce that Ethan Duncan has committed to the Wesmen Men's Volleyball team for the start of the 2016-2017 Canada West season next September.

Duncan a 6-6 outside hitter from Westwood Collegiate was named a West Winnipeg Athletic Conference All-Star in 2013 and 2015. This past September he was named an All-Star at the University of Winnipeg Varsity Boys' Volleyball Tournament. 

"Ethan is a good athlete with size in the outside hitting position. He has the potential to be a strong player in our league. Having played multiple sports previous to pursuing volleyball in the last year gives Ethan an expanded set of athletic skills in addition to his height", said Wesmen Men's Volleyball head coach Larry McKay.

Duncan has played volleyball for the past seven years and recently was a member of the Junior Bison's Club Team that qualified for the National Championships earlier this year. The team was coached by Wesmen Alumnus Cam Johnson. He has been awarded Male Athlete of the Year for six years in a row from Lincoln Middle School and Westwood Collegiate.

"Ethan is a very special athlete who excels in multiple sports. He has focused on volleyball for less than a year and has quickly established himself as one of the top attackers in the province. He has a tremendous upside and an intense desire to learn. The Westwood community is proud of him and excited to follow his career as a Wesmen", added Westwood Collegiate Varsity Boy's Volleyball head coach Brian Schmeichel.

Ethan has received many MVP awards aside from volleyball including basketball and ultimate.  He has excelled at ultimate for seven years and has participated in two Canadian High School Ultimate Championships. He has been a member of the Provincial Ultimate Team for three years and was recently invited to try out for the U20 Jr. National Ultimate Team for a spot on Team Canada for the World Juniors taking place in Poland next summer.

Duncan joins the impressive list of Westwood Collegiate Alumni who have worn a Wesmen uniform including current volleyball players Ryan Bisognano and Sonia Rossy.  Joey Vickery, Mark Johanson,  Gord Tucker and Will Parker to name a few played on the Wesmen Men's Basketball teams. Bruce Rannard was a member of the Men's Volleyball program and Leanne Toews is a past member of the Women's Volleyball Program.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Symphonic and Grade 10 Concert Band

Here is part two of a multi-part series done for BBC about the Columbia Disaster in 2003 (knew you were alive).  If you are interested in learning more all 6 parts are on youtube.  Rather than explain it any further, I will let the people who were there do the talking.

If you are interested in the whole series:

Part 2 - Final descent - see above

Part 3 - The Aftermath

OR - here is the whole thing in HD - BBC Columbia Documentary

Thursday 12 November 2015

Section Leaders Meeting

Mandatory Section Leader's meeting @ 7:45AM in the Band room on Thursday Nov. 19th.  This involves section leaders from Concert Band and Jazz Band.

Thursday 5 November 2015

Brandon Jazz ON LINE

Brandon Jazz payment information is now online. For more information about the payment schedule, due dates and anything else relevant to the tour please click on the "Brandon 2016" link at the top of this page.

As always, if you have any questions about this event please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Edwards at your earliest convenience.

Friday 30 October 2015

Some food for thought

We will be covering this in class this year, but I thought it would be very powerful to share with our blog followers - parents and students alike.

I am always struck by how many people keep discrediting what we have known all along that studying an instrument is a very valuable skill as part of human brain development. However, consistently, I still hear people referring to Band as a "fluff" course or not on par with academics.  It's not that playing "f" on the clarinet is the valuable skill (unless of course you are going to be a professional clarinetist), it is what your brain is doing while you learn this skill.  Learning and instrument is a "full body work out" for your brain as opposed to other skills that are centered on one or two specific areas of the brain.   It's nice that there is now more and more hard data to lay some of these myths to rest.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Arts Hoodies

Although we are continuing to offer a Music Department Jacket every few years, another option you might be interested in is The Arts Department Hoodie.The Arts Department is bringing back the arts hoodie just in time for Christmas! Are you in band, choral, dance, drama, graphic tech, film studies, musical theatre or visual arts...or many of these arts courses? You can have a customized arts hoodie with all of your arts proudly displayed on the sleeve. Insterested? See your arts teachers or pick up an order form in the office. Payments and orders due Monday, November 23rd.

Check out this link for the order form and chance to see the design

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Brandon Jazz Information

Great meeting last night.  Just a quick note to say that all of the information has been posted in the drop down menu above "Brandon Jazz 2016"  Way to go Brooke!

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Section and Section Leader Information

I have posted a couple of documents that help define the roles of the section and section leaders in the PROGRAM INFO drop down menu. It is a good idea that every one have a look at this information so that everyone is aware of the expectations of the section and the section leader.  Section leaders for Jazz band are those students with a "*" by their name and same applies to Concert Band and Symphonic band once auditions have been completed.

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate meet with Mr. Edwards.

Monday 19 October 2015

Instrument Rentals are now ON-LINE

As we mentioned at the beginning of the year, we do not ask for rental monies right away, to help offset the financial pressure that September often brings to families.

Now that we are well into October, we start to collect rental fees. 

At Westwood, we pay all of our fees on-line and you can follow the easy steps to do so on the link at the top of this page entitled  - ON LINE RENTAL INFO.

If you are wondering if you owe a rental fee, I have also included a spreadsheet on that page as well which includes the amount and type... just follow the link on that page.

All fees are due by November 20th or one month from today.

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a unique payment plan, please do not hesitate to contact me at your earliest convenience.

Mr. Edwards

Friday 16 October 2015

Brandon Jazz Festival Meeting

As is tradition, all of our Jazz Bands are heading to the Brandon Jazz festival in March (16-18). We meet once to discuss the basic details of the trip. That meeting takes place on Wednesday, 28 October at 6:30 PM in the theatre. It will be under an hour.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Self Assessment and Sectionals

It's hard to believe that it is time already to look at sectional cut off and self-assessment.

Both cut-off dates are coming very quickly.

If you are in GR.10,11 or 12 and you have this down, please make sure you re-read you last self assessment and begin your new one with a summation of the thoughts Mr. Edwards jotted at the bottom - translation is free.


If you are in GR.9 OR you are New, please follow the links below to get a feel for the 5 w's (who, what, when, where and why) of sectionals and self-assessment.

To find out more about dates see our iCal on the dates page or click here -  Important Dates

To find out more about the purpose of sectionals and what is all involved go to our course outlines listed under the Program information banner or:  click here for Jazz Band Course Outline or Concert Band Course Outline

Before completing a self-assessment please make certain you are familiar with all of the information in the self-assessment section listed under the drop down menu on the website or click here - Self Assessment

To find out more about self assessment purpose and philosophy go to the Program information banner and read through the course outlines:  click here for Jazz Band Course Outline or Concert Band Course Outline

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Making You (ME) Smile - Metal Edition

Every Feel like your going off the rails on a Crazy Train....

Well.....  Ozzy Ozbourne gave us this gem and offered us this advice..

"Maybe it's not to late,
 To learn how to love and forget how to hate."

Here is the original from 1981's Blizzard of Oz tour:

Now here's where it gets interesting.

Friday 2 October 2015

Jazz Bands 2015-2016

After a couple of weeks of intense auditions we are pleased to announce this year's line up for our Intermediate and Jr. Jazz Band.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we worked throughout eh process to find a home for everyone.

Congratulations and all the best in your performances this year.

Jazz Bands 2015-16

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Concert Band Audition Schedule

In preparation for the upcoming auctions, I have broken each class into small audition groups and identified which day their audition will take place.

Students will auction in the specified order.

Remember to fill out a salmon coloured sheer before you enter Mr. Edwards' office.

Audition Dates:

Grade 9 Concert Band

Grade 10 Concert Band

Symphonic Band

Monday 28 September 2015


Intermediate Jazz and Jr. Jazz auditions are well under way and should be wrapped up this week.

Concert Band auditions will begin on Monday the 5th for 10 Concert Band and Symphonic Band.

Gr. 9 Concert Band auditions will begin on Tuesday Oct 13th.

Audition #'s can be found on Twitter or on the Twitter feed embedded into our band website.

Any questions?  See Mr. E ASAP.

Tuesday 15 September 2015


Every now and then someone comes along and lights a fire with their playing.  Here is a... for the lack of a better word... one hot trombone player.  You might say he is blazing a trail for the rest of us.


Friday 11 September 2015

Jazz Band Audition Information

This year we have an outstanding number of musicians wanting to be a part of our dynamic jazz program.

As in past, to facilitate the placement of members in Intermediate and Jr. Jazz, we will be holding auditions. Music will be available in the band room starting Monday.

 During class times next week (Sept.14-18) we will be running the audition music in preparation for auditions during class time the following week (21-25).  Students are welcome to take home both audition pieces and seek help from peers and Mr. Edwards.  The audition will be graded and will constitute your first mark in Jazz if you are placed in either of the ensembles.

A reminder that Jazz band is a full credit course and is accepted for university entrance.  Students will receive course credit for their appropriate grade regardless of the ensemble they are accepted into - i.e.  if a Gr. 12 student is in Jr. Jazz they would receive a Gr.12 credit upon successful completion of the course and vice versa if a Gr. 9 was in Sr. Jazz.

PLEASE NOTE:  That unfortunately, due to the limited instrumentation in Jazz, there are only so many parts available.  There may simply not be enough parts for everyone.  After the audition process is complete, we may be in a situation where everyone may not be able to take jazz band this year.

Jr. Jazz meets on Days 2,4,6 at 12:03 - 1:00PM

Intermediate Jazz meets on Days 1, 3, 5 at 12:03 - 1:00PM

If you ave any questions, please see Mr. Edwards for assistance.

Thursday 10 September 2015

Welcome Back

Seriously, I am so happy to see you all. 

I missed you all dearly and I cannot wait to hear all about your adventures this summer.

Stop by and say hi!


Friday 26 June 2015

Band DVD

Band DVD's are now ready for pick-up!  Reportcards are ready early, so you can get them both today!

Have a great Summer!

Sr. Jazz 2015-2016

Sr. Jazz 2015-16
Brianna Wiebe Alto I * Asst' Captain
Sahmara Frick Alto II
Brooke Flanagan Alto II
Michelle Jang Tenor I

Kyla Smorang Tenor II 
Davis Peters Tenor II 
Piper McKinnon Bari

Brendan Odowda Tbone I* Asst' Capitan
Nic Stroud Tbone II
Jadsia Suzuki-Smith Tbone III
Ben Ulmer Tbone III

David Loewen Bass Bone

Jesse Olynik Trumpet I* Team Capitan 
Ben Schmidt Trumpet I
Brandt Jesson Trumpet II
Michael Chryplywy Trumpet III

Jami Cameron Trumpet IV

Evan Maslanka Drums* Asst' Capitan 
Carter LaFleche Bass
Kjersten Gaminek Piano
Paul Carruthers Aux

Thursday 25 June 2015

Ever wonder WHY you do what you do?

Recently this article came across my desk and I found it a very powerful affirmation of why I do what I do and why I believe it so passionately.  As you head off to summer break, I encourage you to take a minute and read what Mr. Barnes summed up so eloquently below.  Check out the links provided as well as they are the powerful backing for his 13 tenets.  His brief biography appears at the end of the article.

Have a fantastic summer.

Mr. E.

Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You
by Tom Barnes • February 17, 2015

Read Tom Barnes’ wonderful article  about how your parents decision to have you learn music produced some incredible effects on your mind.

If your parents ever submitted you to regular music lessons as a kid, you probably got in a fight with them once or twice about it. Maybe you didn’t want to go; maybe you didn’t like practicing. But we have some bad news: They were right. It turns out that all those endless major scale exercises and repetitions of “Chopsticks” had some incredible effects on our minds.Psychological studies continue to uncover more and more benefits that music lessons provide to developing minds. One incredibly comprehensive longitudinal study, produced by the German Socio-Economic Panel in 2013, stated the power of music lessons as plain as could be: “Music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills more than twice as much as sports, theater or dance.” The study found that kids who take music lessons “have better cognitive skills and school grades and are more conscientious, open and ambitious.” And that’s just the beginning.The following list is a sampling of the vast amount of neurological benefits that music lessons can provide. Considering this vast diversity, it’s baffling that there are still kids in this country who are not receiving high-quality music education in their schools. Every kid should have this same shot at success.
1. It improved your reading and verbal skills.
Several studies have found strong links between pitch processing and language processing abilities. Researchers out of Northwestern University found that five skills underlie language acquisition: “phonological awareness, speech-in-noise perception, rhythm perception, auditory working memory and the ability to learn sound patterns.” Through reviewing a series of longitudinal studies, they discovered that each these skills is exercised and strengthened by music lessons. Children randomly assigned to music training alongside reading training performed much better than those who received other forms of non-musical stimulation, such as painting or other visual arts. You’ve got to kind of feel bad for those kids randomly assigned into art classes.
2. It improved your mathematical and spatial-temporal reasoning
Music is deeply mathematical in nature. Mathematical relationships determine intervals in scales, the arrangement of keys and the subdivisions of rhythm. It makes sense then that children who receive high-quality music training also tend to score higher in math. This is because of the improved abstract spatial-temporal skills young musicians gain. According to a feature written for PBS Education, these skills are vital for solving the multistep problems thatoccur in “architecture, engineering, math, art, gaming and especially working with computers.” With these gains, and those in verbal and reading abilities, young musicians can pretty much help themselves succeed in any field they decide to pursue.
3. It helped your grades.
In a 2007 study, Christopher Johnson, a professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, found that “elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22% higher in English and 20% higher in math scores on standardized tests compared to schools with low-quality music programs.” A 2013 study out of Canada found the same. Every year that scores were measured, the mean grades of the students who chose music were higher than those who chose other extracurriculars. While neither of these studies can necessarily prove causality, both do point out a strong correlative connection.
4. It raised your IQ.
Surprisingly, though music is primarily an emotional art form, music training actually provides bigger gains in academic IQ than emotional IQ. Numerous studies have found that musicians generally boast higher IQs than non-musicians. And while these lessons don’t necessarily guarantee you’ll be smarter than the schlub who didn’t learn music, they definitely made you smarter than you would have been without them.
5. It helped you learn languages more quickly.
Children who start studying music early in life develop stronger linguistic abilities. They develop more complex vocabularies, a more nuanced understanding of grammar and higher verbal IQs. These benefits don’t just impact children’s learning of their first language, but also their ability to learn every language they attempt to learn in the future. The Guardian reports: “Music training plays a key role in the development of a foreign language in its grammar, colloquialisms and vocabulary.” These heightened language acquisition abilities will follow students their whole lives and will aid them when they need to pick up new tongues late in adulthood.
6. It made you a better listener, which will help a lot when you’re older.
Musical training makes people far more sensitive listeners, which can help tremendously as people age. Musicians who keep up with their instrument enjoy a much slower decline in “peripheral hearing.” They can avoid what scientists refer to as the “cocktail party problem” in which older people have trouble isolating specific voices (or musical tones) from a noisy background.
7. It will slow the effects of aging.
But beyond just auditory processing, musical training can also help delay cognitive decline associated with aging. Some of the most promising research positions music as an effective way to stave off dementia. Studies out of Emory University find that even if musicians stop playing as they age, the neurological restructuring that occurred when they were kids helps them perform better on “object-naming, visuospatial memory and rapid mental processing and flexibility” tests than others who never played. The study authors add, though, that musicians had to play for at least 10 years to enjoy these effects. Hopefully you stuck with it long enough.
8. It strengthened your motor cortex.
All musical instruments require high levels of finger dexterity and accuracy. The training works out the motor cortex to an incredible extent, and the benefits can apply to a wide range of non-musical skills. Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2013 found that kids who start learning to play before the age of 7 perform far better on non-musical movement tasks. Exposure at a young age builds connectivity in the corpus callosum, which provides a strong foundation upon which later movement training can build.
9. It improved your working memory.
Playing music puts a high level of demand on one’s working memory (or short-term memory). And it seems the more one practices their instrument, the stronger their working memory becomes. A 2013 study found that musical practice has a positive association with participants’ working memory capacity, their processing speed and their reasoning abilities. Writing for Psychology Today, William R. Klemm claims that musicians’ memory abilities should spread into all non-musical verbal realms, helping them remember more content from speeches, lectures or soundtracks.
10. It improved your long-term memory for visual stimuli.
Music training can also affect long-term memory, especially in the visual realm. Scientists at the University of Texas at Arlington reported last year that classically trained musicians who have been playing more than 15 years score higher on pictorial long-term memory tests. This heightened visual sensitivity likely comes from parsing complex musical scores. The study makes no claims for musicians who learn to play without reading music.
11. It made you better at managing anxiety.
Analyzing brain scans of musicians ages 6 through 18, researchers out of the University of Vermont College of Medicine have found tremendous thickening of the cortex in areas responsible for depression, aggression and attention problems. According to the study’s authors, musical training “accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.” That’s why you’re so emotionally grounded all the time, right? Right.
12. It enhanced your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Several studies have shown how music can enhance children’s self-confidence and self-esteem. A 2004 study split a sample of 117 fourth graders from a Montreal public school. One group received weekly piano instruction for three years while the control received no formal instructions. Those who played weekly scored significantly higheron self-esteem tests than those who did not. As most of us know, high levels of self-esteem can help childrengrow and develop in a vast number of academic and non-academic realms.
13. It made you more creative.
Creativity is notoriously difficult to measure scientifically. All measures generally leave something to be desired. But most sources hold that music training enhances creativity “particularly when the musical activity itself is creative (for instance, improvisation).” According to Education Week, Ana Pinho, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, found that musicians with “longer experience in improvising music had better and more targeted activity in the regions of the brain associated with creativity.” Music training also enhances communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. And studies show musicians perform far better on divergent thinking tests, coming up with greater numbers of novel, unexpected ways to combine new information.

Tom Barnes
Tom Barnes is a Staff Writer for Mic.com’s music section. A graduate of NYU, he’s worked brief stints with Columbia Records and Miracle Music. He believes the mind needs music like the body needs food and water, and he always feels the thirst.

Friday 19 June 2015

Taking the Leap into Summer

1.  I care for you all dearly and would look after you stuff if asked.  That said, could you please come and pick up non-school owned instruments.

2.  DVD's will be ready for report card pick up.

3.   Sr. Jazz auditions have been awesome this year and some unexpected performances have gone down.  I will posting the final list on the 26th.  I will post on Instagram, Twitter and in the Band Room.

4.  Reminder to Grad Band that you have to be at the Concert Hall at 7:00AM on the 24th.  Final Rehearsal is on Monday at 12:00.

5.  Self assessments will be finished today (June 19th)  I will be filing them on Monday.  Gr. 12's are welcome to stop by and grab theirs to complete their portfolio.

6.  Did you notice the new drop-down menu on the website "Student Praise for Band Class."  I started this, as you say such wonderful and interesting things in your Self-assessments, I thought it might be fun to share them with the web-i-verse.  IF you have some thoughts, send me an email and share.

7.  As with all things at the end of the year, I will be out of the office from July 1 to September 8.  Just as a heads up, I will not be checking my work email during this time.

8.  Have a fantastic summer!

Monday 15 June 2015


HELP!!!!!  I leant my orange 32Gig flash drive to one of my students and I did not write down who it was.  They needed the Sr. Jazz Mp3's for their computer, I believe so I put the songs on my flash drive and they promised to bring it back.  My panic, is that all of the photos from the winter concert are on it and I am putting the band DVD together as we speak.  Please spread this email around and see if we can track it down.

On another note (band pun) DVDs will be ready for pick up by report card day.

Monday 8 June 2015

Final Self Assessments

For some odd reason quite a few students missed the Self-Assessment #4 due date of this past Friday (June 5).  I have put the names of all students who have not handed in their assignment on the board in the band room.  Also, by the end of the day I will be putting marks in Power School.  If you have a "0" for your final Self Assessment it was not handed in or there was a problem with the file that you emailed me.... if this is the case, I sent you an email back explaining the problem.  As always, late assignments will be assessed a late penalty of %5 per day to a max of %25 as per school policy.  After 5 days it is at the teachers discretion to award a mark.  Please contact Mr. Edwards if you have any questions.

Thursday 4 June 2015

Year End Band Stuff

1. Final Self-Assessment for the year is due this Friday - June 5th.

2. All instruments must be returned to Mr. Edwards by - June 9th.

3.  All music must be erased and handed in by - June 9th.

4.  All folders must be returned to their slots  - June 9th.

5.  Sr. Jazz Audition sign-up has been posted.  Audition dates and times run from Monday June 8th to Friday June 19th.  Students ARE NOT permitted to miss classes to audition.

6.  Band DVD orders have been submitted and DVD's will be ready to be picked up with report cards at the end of June.

7. The band room is open every day from 8:00 - 4:00 for audition practice and grad band rehearsal.  Students are also welcome to use the room for study and quiet activities.

8.  The members of this year's Grad Band have been selected and first rehearsal is Monday the 8th at 12:00. Bring your lunch.

9.  Sr. Jazz breakfasts June 5th (KJ, BK, NS, MC) and June 9th. (CC)

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Jazz Concert (June 2nd)

Hope to see everyone at the Final Jazz concert in the theatre this evening at 7:00PM. However, if you cannot make it, don't forget that you can catch the concert live over the web.  You can either watch it on the embedded window below or simply open the link on any of your devices.

Please do not forget that we now webcast all of our concerts so loved-ones from around the world can watch and listen to our concerts.  Please feel free to share this information with everyone from out of town who may want to tune in.

We apologize in advance for the ads.  We are considering upgrading to the pro version and that will get rid of them.  It is our intent to use this year's DVD revenue to purchase cameras and work towards a more professional feed.

So you can watch in two ways.  You can watch by clicking on this link (or copying it): Westwood Live
and you can watch on any device anywhere in the world.  If that does not float your boat, you can watch live in the embedded window below.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Band DVD's

Dear Parents:

This year, we will again be selling a band DVD, which will feature lots of movies and tons of photos from each performing ensemble in the Band Program and including every concert.  This way you do not have to tare at your loved one through a 2 inch screen and can enjoy the concert.  We have been compiling this information over the past year, and we cannot tell you how excited we are about this dynamic project.  This exciting keepsake can act as a supplement to your son’s or daughter’s yearbook (in fact it comes in a sticky backed case that can be attached to the back of your yearbook)  or act as a stand alone souvenir of the “too numerous to mention” accomplishments of the band program.  All orders must be pre-paid and no orders will be accepted after the 29th of May. A parent committee will be at the concert on the 28th to take your order.  The DVDs will be available for pick-up some time during the week of the 15th of June in the Band room.  

Pick up a DVD and enjoy a glimpse inside: “band@westwood”          

Please copy and print the lower portion as an order form and bring it to the concertwith your cheque.


Each DVD sells for $20.00

Please submit this order form with your payment

DVD Title:  “band@westwood '2014”                       
            Student’s name ____________________________

          Student’s grade ____________________________

TOTAL NUMBER OF DVD’S ORDERD _____ X $20.00 = TOTAL COST  - $ _________ 


Final Concert Information

As we approach our final concerts for the year, I wanted to re-post our concert dates and rehearsal times.

All students are to be at the school at 6:00PM and we would like to take this moment to remind parents and students alike that this concert constitutes our final exam and all students are required to stay for the entire concert.

May 28th @ 7:00 PM in the gym - Final Concert Band Concert

Rehearsal Schedule for May 28th:

Period 1 will be Symphonic Band
Period 2 will be Gr. 9 Concert Band
Period 5 will be Gr. 10 Concert Band

June 2nd@7:00PM in the theatre - Final Jazz Band Concert

Period 3 - Sr. Jazz
Period 4 (Lunch)  - Intermediate Jazz (regular class time)
Period 5 - Jr. Jazz

Hope everyone is as excited as I am about the upcoming concerts.  Please do not forget that we now webcast all of our concerts so loved-ones from around the world can watch and listen to our concerts.  Please feel free to share this information with everyone from out of town who may want to tune in.

We apologize in advance for the ads.  We are considering upgrading to the pro version and that will get rid of them.  It is our intent to use this year's DVD revenue to purchase cameras and work towards a more professional feed.

So you can watch in two ways.  You can watch by clicking on this link: Westwood Live
and you can watch on any device anywhere in the world.  If that does not float your boat, you can watch live in the embedded window below.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Sr. Jazz Wins GOLD!!

What can we say that has not already been said?  Westwood Collegiate Band and Choral programs are a force to be reckoned with.  From May 12th - 16th, 26 students, along with Mr. Edwards, Ms. Russell and Mr. Wake attended the Nationals Music Festival in Toronto.  Both Nationals Vocal Jazz and Sr. Jazz faced some fierce competition, as everyone at this festival had to win a invitation by competing at their regional festival first.  Thus, Musicfest is a coming together of the top vocal jazz and Jazz ensembles in our country.

When the dust had settled, both groups had risen to the top of their respective categories and we each awarded a GOLD plaque to honour their achievements.  Adjudicators were "over the top" with their compliments.

Christine Jensen who directs a big band in Montreal was verbally adjudicating the band and was,"all in!" for our performance. She complimented the ensemble on masterfully dealing with some very difficult textures.  In the end, she came on stage and told the ensemble that they were the "hippest band" of the entire festival and complimented Mr. Edwards on bringing such a dynamic band to the festival... "it was a musical treat." She then presented an "Honour Award" chosen by the adjudicators to Evan, drummer with the Sr Jazz, in recognition of his outstanding performance at the festival.

 As for the vocal jazz ensemble, their audience rose to their feet in standing ovation..... which is not unheard of for this group, but what was absolutely phenomenal is that the ovation came after their expertly executed rendition of Pentatonix's Run To You mashed-up with Gravity...... THEIR 2ND TUNE.  An ovation after your 2nd song is unheard of, but we saw it happen with our very own eyes.  Greg Jasperse, member of the highly acclaimed Veritical Voices and educator at Western, worked with the vocal jazz after their performance and was absolutely on fire to have the chance to work with an ensemble of such high calibre.  He then recognized Lindsay with an "Honour Award"  chosen by the adjudicators in recognition of her outstanding performance at the festival.

After our performances, we were all over campus checking out: Concert Bands, String Orchestras, Concert Choirs and other Vocal Jazz Groups and Jazz Bands.  With everyone being at such a high level, it was no surprise that every performance we saw was fantastic.

On Thursday, the group was treated with a visit to the CN tower and to Ripley's aquarium.  I will let the photos speak for themselves on that one.  Epic vistas and "tiny purple fishes run laughing through your fingers and you want to take them with you to the heartland of the sun."  (Tale of Brave Ulyssyes - Cream).

Then we ended up at Chapers/ Indigo Bookstore where, through the genius vision of Ms. Russell, the Vocal Jazz ensemble was able to perform their a cappella set for none other than Heather Reismann the CEO, of Chapters/Indigo.  She was so impressed with the students from Westwood, that she told them all to pick any two things in the store at her expense.  Needless to say there were 26 kids wandering about Chapters with a crooked little grin on their face trying to decide what books to pick.

To wrap it all up the group spent all day Saturday at Canada's Wonderland where the weather was simply perfect at 26˚C and sunny.... a stark contrast to the 10CM of snow that was awaiting everyone on their arrival home.

What else can be said.  Fantastic teachers, wonderful principal and excellent students. ..... but we knew that already.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Sr. Jazz Auditions for 2015-2016

Sr. Jazz audition music is now available to anyone interested in auditioning for next year's Sr. Jazz.  Auditions will take place the 2nd week of June and you can download the mp3's off of our listening site.  See Mr. Edwards to pick up your music and feel free to drop by if you have any questions.

Manitoba Honour Jazz Band Information

Announcing the 2015 Honour Jazz Bands (2.0)
The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Winnipeg are pleased to re-announce the2015 Manitoba Honour Jazz Bands (MHJB) program. The MHJB program will rehearse June 6, 19 & 20 with a final concert on June 21 as part of the 2015 TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival. There will be three auditioned bands led by some of Manitoba’s finest jazz educators:
Junior (1 – 2 years jazz experience): Neil Watson, director
Intermediate (3 – 4 years jazz experience): Jon Gordon, director
Senior (4 – 5+ years jazz experience): Richard Gillis, director
Audition materials and instructions are online at www.winnipegjazzorchestra.com/mhjbMaterials include improv, bebop and blues components*. 

Audition Deadline: May 25, 2015 (10:00pm CST)
Results Announced: May 27, 2015

Auditions will be accepted in the following ways:
In-school live-recording sessions held by a MHJB representative. Please contact Richard Gillis at Richard.Gillis@umanitoba.ca if you have 4 or more students who are interested in a live-recorded audition and we are happy to schedule an in-school session at your school.
Online submission at www.winnipegjazzorchestra.com/mhjb
Physical submission to: 121 Cathedral Avenue, Winnipeg, MB  R2W 0W7 (must be received by deadline). 

Please encourage your students to audition for this exciting opportunity!

Monday 6 April 2015

Mr. Edwards' Has Left the Building

Unfortunately, I am going to be off work for a while and will not be returning until mid-May at the earliest.  You are being left in the very awesome hands of Mr. Walden who brings a wealth of musical experience and knowledge to the podium.  I would expect that you give him the utmost respect and follow his guidance as you all prepare for your up-coming concerts, sectionals and self-assessments.

Thank you in advance for all your hard work.  I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Mr. Edwards.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Brandon Jazz Wrap-Up

Well that sure came and went fast.  With 82 kids, two busses and enough energy, enthusiasm and excitement to power a city, we made our way to the Brandon Jazz festival this past week.  What a truly enjoyable adventure for everyone involved.  All of our ensembles (3 Vocal Jazz and 3 Jazz Bands) enjoyed some extremely positive feedback from the adjudicators.  The festival is set up that, with the exception of the adjudicators, the students perform in front of an audience of their peers..... and who better?  I cannot even begin to describe the feeling that we have as we come on stage to some serious raucous applause and whistles.  There is just this feeling that you simply cannot fail as there is so much support for what you are doing.

Besides some truly memorable performances, we were also privileged to listen to a jaw-dropping performance by the Brandon University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Michael Cain.  His inspiration set list had the audience on their feet twice during their set.  Most memorably when Michael took the helm at the piano and played 'Round Midnight as a haunting duet with one of the members from the BU Band on vocals.  Simply brilliant.

In addition, the members were treated to some pretty memorable moments at Remmington's Steakhouse and at Thunderbird Bowl.

Thanks again to Ms. Russell for organizing this fantastic event and to the students for their exemplary behaviour.  You make us proud time and time again.  Not only by your obvious love of music making, but there is nothing more complementary that having bus drivers, restaurant managers, front dest hotel staff and random people coming up to you and tell you over and over again how great your kids are.... you truly are one of a kind.

Wednesday 11 March 2015


1.  CONGRATULATIONS to all of the students for their fantastic performances at this year's Optimist Band festival.  The adjudicators were very impressed with our ensembles.  For the past 15 years in a row all of our ensembles have been awarded invitations to compete at Nationals and this year was no exception.  Way to go bands!  What an impressive achievement.

Robert Taylor shared this "Great musical selections! There are a lot of strengths in this ensemble, from your numbers, to your technical work to your energy and enthusiasm."

Jonathan Dagenais shared this: "Great tone quality and musicality! Great players and very good musicianship."

Thank you all, parents and students, for making this years festival a memorable one!

2.  Sr. Jazz managed to make their way through the Optimist Jazz festival with an outstanding performance that had the adjudicators scratching their heads in awe at the level of music and musicianship compared to their age. Once of our adjudicator's, Scott Prebys, told the band that he was left with goosebumps as we played.  Congratulations to all of the students and parents for making this past Saturday a very special event.  Sr. Jazz will now go on to represent Manitoba at the Nationals Jazz competition in May.

3.  All concert band classes have received new music and are deep into run-throughs.  Sectional cut-off and Self-Assessment #3 is due on the 17th of April.  This date is coming fast and be wary of spring Break in there taking some time from you.  As always, the sectional book is right in front of my office.

4.  Brandon Jazz.  Final Payment is now past due.  Please remit immediately if you have not done so already.  As well, Ms. Russell and I are working on all the final details for the tour.  The final itinerary and festival information will be posted on the website shortly.  Please do not print the information for students, as they will all receive a paper copy when they board the bus.  Please remember that students will need to bring some spending money for 2 lunches and 1 dinner.  Students are to bring all of their suitcases to the band or choral room on Wednesday morning. Sr. Jazz members are reminded to bring their pin.  We are staying at the Victoria Inn - (204) 725-1532.  website: https://brandon.vicinn.com

5.  For the Love of the Arts (FLOTA) is coming soon in April on the 13th. Tickets are $15 for a single ticket or $110 for a table of 8.  Tickets are available in our library.  For those of you unfamiliar with this event, it features high-lute performances and displays from all aspect of the magnificent arts programs at Westwood.  Band-wise, it will feature performances by the Gr. 10 Concert Band and Sr.Jazz.  Grade 10 Concert band members are to be in the band room at 6:00PM and can leave immediately following their performance if they wish.  Sr. Jazz is to meet in the band room at 8:00PM SHARP.

6.  The night following FLOTA, we will be hosting our annual Family Concert featuring music from our "Family of Schools."  This includes presentations by: Phoenix, Robert Browning, Sansome, Lincoln and of course Westwood.  Gr. 10 Concert Band and Sr. Jazz will be performing.

7.  And for those of you keen to be in the know....  Final Band Concert May 28th in the Gym and Final Jazz Concert - June 2nd in the theatre.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Brandon Jazz Forms

As we get closer and closer to departure, it is important that we tidy up a few last details.

1)  Final payment, $79.00,  is due on Thursday (March 5).  If you have not done so, please proceeded to school cash online and take care of this item.  For some of you, you will also have to make the missing 2nd payment as, well.  Thank you in advance for taking care of this.

You can log in here:  schoolcashonline.com

2)  If you have any dietary concerns (i.e. Celiac, Vegetarian or Vegan)  please let me know ASAP.  I have been asking in class, but I do not want anyone to slip through the cracks.

3)  As I scan through the piles of forms submitted by students for this fantastic event (and there was 4 per participating student), I have noticed there are a few missing.  Please click on the link below and check to see if that applies to you and submit any missing forms ASAP.

Please note:  Students will not be permitted on the bus without these completed forms and no-refund will be given if a student is denied travel due to in-completed forms.

Brandon Jazz Missing Forms  (right click and open in new window)

The forms can be found on our Brandon 2015 link at the top of this page.

If you have any other questions or concern, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Ms. Russell.

Friday 27 February 2015

Brandon Jazz Final Payment

Hello Brandon Jazzers!

It is hard to believe that we are only a few weeks away from departure.  Thank you to Ms. Russell for all her hard work in behind the scenes to put this event together.  We have now figured out or final cost at $79.00. This payment is due on Thursday…. that's this thursday March 5th.  You can find the payment on Power school.

Also, if you have not submitted all of the forms form the website, please fill them out and return them to  Mr. Edwards as soon as possible.

You can find the forms here - Brandon Jazz Forms

Looking forward to a fantastic tour!

Thursday 19 February 2015

Tyson Wins GOLD!!!!!!

Way to go Tyson!
From the Winnipeg Free Press
Manitoba is having a gold-letter day at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Tyson Langelaar captured this province’s third gold medal at 2015 Canada Winter Games event in British Columbia. Langelaar broke away from the pack with 1.5 laps to go in his long-track speedskating event (mass start) in Fort St. John, and edged a skater from Quebec for the gold.

Click here for Tyson's bio from the Canada Games site - Tyson Langelaar

Long track Canada Winter Games speed skating results

Only one day remains for long track speed skating at the Pomeroy Sport Centre for the Canada Winter Games. Day two has come to a close as skaters took part in the mass start events, as well as the men’s 1,500 metre race, and the women’s 1,000 metre race.
In the men’s mass start winning gold was Tyson Langelaar of Manitoba with a time of 7:03.64. Taking the silver was Antoine Roger of Quebec in 7:03.91, and winning bronze was Lucas Morin of Saskatchewan as he finished the race in 7:04.02.

Winning gold in the women’s mass start was Carolane Gingras of Quebec in 5:20.20. Silver and bronze went to two B.C. skaters as Carolina Hiller and Sara Spence finished with times of 5:20.23, and 5:20.38 respectively.

Taking home the top spot in the women’s 1,000 metre race was Geanne Blais Dufour of Quebec in 1:22.27. Silver and bronze again went to Carolina Hiller and Sara Spence of B.C. They clocked in at 1:23.76, and 1:23.80 for their respective races.

Lucas Morin of Saskatchewan won the gold medal in the men’s 1,500 metre race at 1:56.01. Silver went to Alberta’s Kevin Yaholnitsky in 1:56.68, and winning bronze was Antoine Roger of Quebec in 1:56.85. Dawson Creek’s Jacob Graham also took part in the event but the illness that he was dealing with yesterday further hindered him in today’s races as he finished in 2:03.90.

As mentioned tomorrow if the final day of long track speed skating at the Pomeroy Sport Centre for the Canada Winter games. The schedule is listed below:
09:30 Speed Skating Long Track – 5000 m Male Final – Final
11:30 Speed Skating Long Track – 3000 m Female Final – Final

Way to go Tyson!!!!!!  Tyson is a member of the Gr. 10 Concert Band.

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