Recent History – 2000
Dec. 20, 2000
By Tamara Anderson and Amber Rutledge, South Peace Secondary School Reporters
Three school bands came together to put on a performance last week in Unchagah Hall — from SPSS, Central Middle School, and North Peace Secondary in Fort St. John. An audience of about 200 braved -25 C weather to attend the concert.
The hour-long event Thursday evening included performances of a wide variety of musical selections, as well as selections played jointly by the bands.
The concert marks a return to concerts at South Peace Secondary after an extended absence of a music program in the school. The last time a band class was offered was 1988-89.
The students seemed to really enjoy it.
“It was fun,” said Lindsay Gray, who plays the alto and tenor saxophones. “It was fun to see all the different instruments that came from Fort St. John and to hear what they sound like. It was pretty good for our first performance, I think.”
John Ominiyak, who plays the French horn, agreed: “I think it went well. It was a good experience, and it gets you more people skills.”
Music teacher Alice Eagles said there are many benefits to SPSS students getting together and playing with other bands, such as getting to see how more-developed bands perform.
“When we all played as a mass band it was really very exciting because our students got a chance to play with people who have been playing for seven years,” she said.
She also noted many advantages to having a band program at the school. Students exercise their musical creativity and talents, but they also learn to work, and develop self-discipline and team work, which also helps them bring out their creative side. These benefits of band class help them with other aspects throughout their life, including academic studies.
“They can take this into their adult years. They can play that for the rest of their life — it becomes an adult skill,” Eagles said.
She has been teaching music classes for 20 years. However, this is her first time teaching students in a high school.
“I enjoy the challenge, and I am learning a lot from them too!”
Increased student interest in music has enabled the school to offer beginner and advanced band programs as well as a singing course this year.
“In previous years the student enrollment has not been sufficiently high enough to enable us to build (music courses) into our timetable,” said Principal Sandy McDowell.
“We do student programming in the spring each year and it is based on the interest in particular courses and the staff that we have that enables us to offer those courses. If we get sufficient enrolment in band or music programs then we are able to offer it. We can then go out and find a staff member to do it.”
Many students expressed appreciation for the opportunity of having music classes as options and hope they will have the same opportunity in future years.