Towards the beginning of this month, Nepean’s music program put together a small concert to introduce the new students to the possibilities that the program offers. This event was made to inspire a new generation to take up music by introducing a myriad of different options, from the school choir to the Jazz Band, and even a song composed and performed by the grade 11-12 Jazz Combo.
In the morning, the musicians and singers performed in Nepean’s very own auditorium - with this being the first time it’s been used for a concert since the start of the Covid-19 shutdown - for the Broadview students aged 11-14 (grades 6-8). Both the Concert Band and all three choirs got to perform multiple pieces, ending with a combination of both playing Kaana Kameme.
Later in the afternoon the Jazz band and the choirs traveled to Fisher Park Middle School to perform again. With a slightly altered set of songs they were able to pull off another amazing performance. The entire trip back to Nepean was filled with the excited buzz of a show well done where no one could stop talking about what had happened.
After so long of not being able to play, first with Covid-19 stopping us from playing together, then with classes going online before the winter break - even before the bands were unable to mix grades, and the choir had to sing over Zoom - it’s amazing what was accomplished thanks to the teachers and everyone’s dedication.
In both of these performances we got skillfully executed solos from the choir and Jazz Band. During one of the pieces - Honk by Jeff Jarvis - the grade 10 musicians showcased everything they’ve learned so far. Some of the solos were performed by students who learned their instruments only the year before.
“I love soloing,” says Lauren, who did solos for both the Jazz Band and choir. “But it’s different for choir and Jazz. In choir you have to focus on the notes since it’s already written out for you, and you have to almost hyperfixate on trying to hit the notes, but I do like the fact that I don’t really have to think about volume. When I’m singing with the rest of the choir I have to pull back a little so everyone can be heard, but when I’m soloing I get to be as loud as I want. As long as it still sounds good. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes breathing is really hard. You need to make sure you breathe in the right spots or the words don’t sound right, or you might not get enough air and that’s a whole other problem!
“With jazz it’s a lot more freeform, especially since we’ve been doing improv instead of written solos. You really have to think ahead to the rhythms you want to play and the way you want to play them. You’re pretty much making everything up on the spot, so it can be a little stressful, but the more you do it the more you know what you’re good at and what your coils do better. In all honesty I just go up there and hope I don’t squeak!”
It’s amazing to finally start having these opportunities again, to be able to introduce a new generation to music and to inspire them to try something new that can open up a lot of doors.