Monday 9 December 2019

Optimist Band and Jazz Festival

Optimist dates and performance times were released today.


More details on the drop down menu for Optimist 2020.

Optimist Concert Band - RBC Convention Centre

Tuesday Feb 18, 2020
1:50 PM - 9 Concert Band
8:40PM  - 10 Concert Band

Thursday Feb 20, 2020
6:20 - Symphonic Band

Optimist Jazz - Franco Manitoban Cultural Centre

Thursday Feb 27, 2020
3:20 - B.I.G. Band
7:30 - L.T.J.O.

Friday Feb 28, 2020
7:30  - Sr. Jazz

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Brandon Jazz 2020

A letter about our annual tour to the Brandon Jazz Festival in March was sent home mid November. The first payment is now due and we are asking that it be paid before the 13th of December so we can confirm our participating numbers.

Please make sure that you have read the letter (also posted on our website here) and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Mr. Edwards

Monday 21 October 2019

Westwood Collegiate Arts Advisory Group

This parent group WCAAG supports the arts programs and staff at Westwood Collegiate. Westwood parents who are interested in the arts, or have children enrolled in an arts program(s) meet once a month to plan for the annual “For the Love of the Arts” arts evening, as well as lend support to staff for events such as the musical when selling tickets and running a canteen. 
For the Love of the Arts (FLOTA) is an evening that celebrates the arts programs and students. This school year FLOTA will be held on Monday, April 27, 2020. Set up for the evening will take place on Sunday, April 26, 2020 and it takes the efforts of parents and students to set up the gym for the big event. The night of the event, parents are needed in many capacities from taking tickets to preparing refreshments. Planning begins at the monthly meetings with email sign ups shared prior to the setup and event. The funds from the evening are used by the arts department at Westwood to buy items such as costumes, upgrade equipment, or purchase instruments.
What are the arts programs at Westwood? The arts department is made up of band, choral, dance, drama, graphic tech, musical theatre, photography, and visual art. 
You’re help is instrumental in making the various arts events throughout the school year successful and well attended. We would love to see you at the monthly meetings, or volunteering to help with FLOTA or other arts events would be greatly appreciated!
For more information you can contact Ms. Catharine Rivard at

Thursday 19 September 2019

Audition selections and dates

As we make our way into the start of the audition season, links to the students audition dates and pieces will be posted here.  Please see Mr. Edwards if you have any questions.

Concert Bands:

REMINDER - in addition to your two octave chromatic scale, I will pick one of the numbers below for you to play when you walk into my office.

To find the order of auditions, click on the ensemble name to see your date and time.

Audition Numbers and tempi (big fancy word for the speed at which you will be expected to play):

Symphonic Band - October  7 - 18

7 - quarter note = 86
15 - quarter note = 70
23 - quarter note = 100
43 - quarter note = 80

Gr. 10 Concert Band - October 7 - 18

3 - quarter note = 60
15 - quarter note = 55
27 = quarter noter = 76

Gr. 9 Concert Band - October 15-23

3 - quarter note = 50
7 - quarter note equals 40
19 - quarter note = 45


@ TEMPO = 10
+/- 5 = 9
+/- 10 = 8
+/- 15 = 7
+/- 20 = 6
+/- 25 = 5
+/- 30 = 4

Jazz Bands:

LTJO  - September 23-27th

May's Way

Westwood B.I.G. Band - October 8-15

In the Doghouse

Tuesday 3 September 2019

Well It's About Time

Welcome back everyone!   I am really excited about all of the possibilities for the year.   I sincerely hope you had a fantastic summer and I am looking forward to hearing about all of your stories and adventures.

I am working on the website next week, and I will have everything up to date by next Friday.

As always,  you can keep up to date here with all the comings and goings of the band program.  But it is worthwhile to remind you that you will get information also on the band twitter and instagram account (@bandatwestwood) that is not posted here - such as schedules for the band and information about auditions or just some funny laughs.

See you soon!  Mr. E.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Music Makes You Smarter - Seriously Smarter

High school students who take music courses score significantly better on math, science and English exams than their non-musical peers, according to a new study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

School administrators needing to trim budgets often look first to music courses, because the general belief is that students who devote time to music rather than math, science and English, will underperform in those disciplines.

“Our research proved this belief wrong and found the more the students engage with music, the better they do in those subjects,” said UBC education professor and the study’s principal investigator, Peter Gouzouasis. “The students who learned to play a musical instrument in elementary and continued playing in high school not only score significantly higher, but were about one academic year ahead of their non-music peers with regard to their English, mathematics and science skills, as measured by their exam grades, regardless of their socioeconomic background, ethnicity, prior learning in mathematics and English, and gender.”

Gouzouasis and his team examined data from all students in public schools in British Columbia who finished Grade 12 between 2012­ and 2015. The data sample, made up of more than 112,000 students, included those who completed at least one standardized exam for math, science and English, and for whom the researchers had appropriate demographic information—including gender, ethnicity, neighbourhood socioeconomic status, and prior learning in numeracy and literacy skills. Students who studied at least one instrumental music course in the regular curriculum counted as students taking music. Qualifying music courses are courses that require previous instrumental music experience and include concert band, conservatory piano, orchestra, jazz band, concert choir and vocal jazz.

The researchers found the predictive relationships between music education and academic achievement were more pronounced for those who took instrumental music rather than vocal music. The findings suggest skills learned in instrumental music transfer very broadly to the students’ learning in school.

“Learning to play a musical instrument and playing in an ensemble is very demanding,” said the study’s co-investigator Martin Guhn, an assistant professor in UBC’s school of population and public health. “A student has to learn to read music notation, develop eye-hand-mind coordination, develop keen listening skills, develop team skills for playing in an ensemble and develop discipline to practice. All those learning experiences, and more, play a role in enhancing the learner’s cognitive capacities, executive functions, motivation to learn in school, and self-efficacy.”

The researchers hope that their findings are brought to the attention of students, parents, teachers and administrative decision-makers in education, as many school districts over the years have emphasized numeracy and literacy at the cost of other areas of learning, particularly music.

“Often, resources for music education—including the hiring of trained, specialized music educators, and band and stringed instruments—are cut or not available in elementary and secondary schools so that they could focus on math, science and English,” said Gouzouasis. “The irony is that music education—multiple years of high-quality instrumental learning and playing in a band or orchestra or singing in a choir at an advanced level—can be the very thing that improves all-around academic achievement and an ideal way to have students learn more holistically in schools.”

Thursday 20 June 2019

Band Flash Drives

Band Flash Drives will be available for pick up during the first full week back in September.

Have a great summer!

Monday 27 May 2019

Final Concert and End of the year information

I know it is hard to believe that it is that time already, but as we approach the end of May, it is important that we look at all of the up coming dates and get ready for the celebration of our successes and the craziness that is the end of the year.

May 24th is the cut off for our last round of sectionals for Concert Band.  

May 27th is our set up for the Final Concert at 7:00PM. As always, we will be needing your help for about 20 minutes.

May 28th will be the dress rehearsals throughout the day for our concert that evening.

May 28th. Final Concert Band Concert.  7:00PM gym - Doors open at 3:30PM

  • Here you will be able to order your band FLASHDRIVE for $20 before and after the concert. The Band FLASHDRIVE contains photos and videos from both concerts and a few candids from throughout the year. It is our only fundraiser and all funds raised go directly back into the program. THE MINIMUM ORDER IS 100, SO WE MUST SELL AT LEAST 100.
  • Students need to be here at 6:00PM

May 29th -- Dress Rehearsal for the Final Jazz concert through out the day.

May 29thst - Final Jazz Concert at 7:00PM in the theatre.
  • Doors open at 4:00PM
  • Students will need to be here at 6:00PM.
June 3rd - sign-up sheets go up for Sr. Jazz Auditions. Auditions will take place from the 17th to the 21st.

June 6th - all music music/ folders and method books must be handed in by 3:30PM for sorting by the nines. All instruments that are not being used by students for auditions or Grad Band must also be turned in today.

June 5th - Final Self-Assessment Due - Everyone else follows the same format except Seniors. Sr.'s are to take their folder home this week and re-read all of the contents. Their final self assessment is of their entire 4 years at Westwood and encompass what it is, if anything, that they have accomplished and/or learned in their time here.

June 6th to the 28th - Grad Band Rehearsals - No auditions. Students are hand selected by Mr. Edwards.


June12th - Gr. 9 Clean.

June 17th - Last Official Day of Classes and some time this week will be the Gr. 9 Movie Night.

June 29th - All instruments go for repairs.

First week in September - Band FLASH DRIVES's are available for pick-up.

LIVE - Band Concerts this week

As you know we have always been on the cutting edge of technology here in the Westwood Band Program and this concert is no exception.

We have two up coming concerts for you this week.  

Concert Band on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM CST and 
Jazz Band on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM CST.


"Shut the Front Door!"

You can watch either night by clicking on the video below or watching on your device by clicking on the link from anywhere on the planet that there is wireless.


Wednesday 17 April 2019

Joint Concert with Westwood Community Band

This past Thursday, on a surprisingly hot evening in the Westwood theatre, our Sr. Jazz got a chance to share the stage with Ms. Ginny Helmer and the members of the Westwood Community Concert Band.  What a night!  The evening opened with Sr. Jazz taking the stage and sharing their project piece Minuano and their newest funk music- The Path.  These two selections will be the foundation of the band's performance in Ottawa at the Nationals in the middle of May.  After the dust had settled, the impressive Community Band took to the stage and settled in to share their fabulous music making.  Their opening number - Windjammer - paints a musical portrait of a tall ship gliding down the west coast of B.C.  For there the enthusiasm grew as the band teased us with a Fugue and a very relaxing piece entitled Air of Band.  To close out their portion of the show they played a Gershwin medley.  Super Fun!  And as if that was not enough, the members of Sr. Jazz joined the Community Band on stage for for an epic supergroup.  Together these fine musicians to the audience on a journey with their rendition of Gadget which Brough the audience immediately to their feet in ovation... a great recognition to the wonderful music that was made here this evening.  

Thursday 11 April 2019

FLOTA and Family Concert

What a whirl-wind week 
(how's that for alliteration).  We had two amazing nights of music celebration. First on April 8 all of the Arts community at Westwood came to Peter to perform at our anual Arts fundraiser call For the Love of the Arts or FLOTA.  Here Dancers, singers, visual artists and all kinds of performers entertained the packed house with fantastic moment after moment.

The next evening, we saw the invasion of the the little people as Sansome, Robert Browning and the choirs from Lincoln came together to celebrate the wonderful music making that takes place in the Westwood Family of Schools.

All of the bands performed outstandingly and there were even calls for an encore.  Hope the pictures capture some of the fun as both nights ended with the audience clapping along to Sr. Jazz as all of the performers danced to their rendition of Stevie Wonder's - Superstition.

(Apologies for not have any concert band pics, but could not conduct and hold the camera. (;

Friday 22 March 2019

Brandon Jazz Festival 2019

Another successful tour to Brandon with Vocal Jazz: M and M's and Synchronicity along with the Westwood B.I.G. Band and L.T.J.O. From the formal dinner to the outstanding performances, this tour had it all.  Throw in a healthy dose of comedy and silliness and combine that with amazing concerts and glow bowling and you have the recipe for yet another stellar Westwood music event.

Friday 8 March 2019

Optimist Jazz Festival

Yet again a great time was had by all at the Optimist Jazz Festival. What a season.... who knew we could perform without a drummer and still have a fantastic time at festival. Great bands.  Great kids.  Great time.  What more is there to say?

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Optimist Band Festival

As the dust settles on another year at the Optimist Band festival, we can all be really proud of all three of our concert bands.  They all played their hearts out and truly impressed all of the judges whose comments highlighted our ensembles attention to detail and their mature presence both on and off the stage.  Clean-up Friday night went off without a hitch as we had many enthusiastic members of Symphonic Band pack up the 4 performing stages.  In the end, all of our ensembles were year again invited to represent Manitoba at the Nationals in Calgary in 2020. and that's super awesome!

Monday 4 February 2019

Band Concert Live

Watch or share our live link to tune in at 7:00CST and check out all the amazing sounds as we celebrate the fantastic music making of our students at our annual winter concert.


Thursday 31 January 2019

Winter Band Concert

Wow!  It's hard to believe that the annual Westwood Winter Band Concert is just around the corner.  We happily invite you all to join us Wednesday Feb. 6th at 7:00 PM in the gym to come and celebrate with all of our wonderful musicians.  Doors open at 4:00PM and admission is FREE.

Just some last minute reminders:

  • Students are required, as part of the exam process, to stay for the entire concert. Besides it's too cold out... staying inside with us where it is warm is far more fun.  Please don't get up and leave after your family member has performed... it's just plain rude.
  • Students need to be at Westwood by 5:45PM
  • Concert will be done somewhere around 9:00PM and all students are required to help with teardown.
  • We hire a professional photographer and videographer to shoot the show so you do not have to watch the entire thing through the finger-printy screen on your device.  Besides, they will get far better pictures than you ever will with your device.  This footage becomes the basis of our annual fundraiser - the band flash drive.  For $20 you will get all of the pictures and videos from every concert this year - which is available for purchase at the final concert in May.  SO... sit back and enjoy the show.
  • All students are responsible for set-up on the 5th (Tuesday) at 5:30 PM.  Set up usually is done in less than 30minutes.
  • we also web-cast our concerts - check back later for the links so that you can share them with your loved ones around the world.  

Tuesday 15 January 2019


Hey everyone one of my former students is a brilliant trumpet player that plays with the Heavyweight Brass Band and he is up for an award. Please follow this link and vote for John Pittman.

P.S. - I heard a rumour that he may be one one of the fabulous adjudicators at brandon Jazz this year!

Last year LTJO played one of the Heavyweights compositions - Roscoe's Big Hit that is on their latest album: This City and they sent us an autographed copy on vinyl no less!!!

Here they are with: Tell Me Something Good!

Monday 7 January 2019

WOW are we BUSY

Just a quick reminder of upcoming dates:

Jan. 14th - Self Assessment # 2 is due.

Jan. 24th - Mark cut-off for Semester 1.  Last day for re-testing playing tests.  Do not procrastinate, book your appointment now!

Jan. 25- 31st. - Exam Week.

Feb. 1 - Inservice

Feb. 4-5 - Last band rehearsals before concerts

Feb. 5th - Concert set-up in the evening

Feb. 6th - Band concert 7:00PM (All groups)

Feb. 15th - Sectional Cut-off #3

Feb. 21-22 - Optimist International Band Festival

Feb. 28th - Mar. 2  - Optimist International Jazz Festival

Mar. 13- 15 - Brandon Jazz Festival

Mar. 20 - Self-Assessment #3 Due.

Mar. 25-29 - Spring Break

See..... I told you we were BUSY!

As always, feel free to contact Mr. Edwards if you have any questions.

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