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.

Westwood Bands in the Newspaper (Headliner and Metro)

A handful of Greg Edwards's band students hold the group's awards at Westwood Collegiate on June 22. From left: Brooke Schrader, Dan...