Music educator Greg Edwards on the “resiliency” and “indefatigable” spirit of students—and teachers—through a tumultuous year. 

The end of the school year is nearly here, and just before closing the book on one we’re surely not to forget, Classic 107 spoke with band director at Westwood Collegiate Greg Edwards about the year that was — one which, despite the many, many challenges kept the music going. 

“There’s a reason that Manitoba is the centre of music education in Canada,” says Edwards, who describes his colleagues across the province as some of the most “wonderful, brilliant and resilient” educators in the country. “We’re very lucky to have that kind of community.” 

In a year that “takes the cake” when it came to pivots and changes, Edwards, like all educators, rolled with the punches. 

From physically-distanced seating and reduced class sizes at the beginning of the year, to Zoom rehearsals, to outdoor performances, there was a bit of everything this year in the real life and online band room. Following public health guidelines, the safety of students was always of the utmost priority. 

“They could keep playing their instruments,” said Edwards. “I think that was the key thing, that’s what they signed up for, that’s what they wanted to do in band.” 

And, after a clean-sweep at the Manitoba Band Association online Family of Festivals, it was clear that students were playing their instruments very well. 

The three concert bands and three jazz bands at Westwood Collegiate all received 5 star performances at the festival—a first for Edwards in his more than 25 years attending. 

“That was wild,” says and enthusiastic Edwards. 

Find the full, year end Westwood Collegiate band recital below. Plus Simeon’s conversation with Greg Edwards. 

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Listen to the full interview below: