The Mount Baker Music Department has just returned from participating in the 2019 Cantando International Music Festival in Whistler B.C.
The April 25-28 festival involved 52 concert bands, 40 choral groups, 35 jazz bands, as well as drumlines and string orchestras, in all totaling almost 4,000 students from all over Canada and the U.S. Mount Baker brought 95 students to the festival, performing in the Concert Choir, Vocal Jazz, Concert Band and Vocal Jazz categories.
Each day the ensembles would perform for large audiences which included other festival musicians, public music lovers and an adjudication panel. Following each performance, the groups would receive grading and a clinic by one of the select judges.
At the same time, every board room and hotel ballroom in Whistler was taken up by small group private lessons, where students could walk into any kind of music lesson they liked: instrumental, vocal, composing, improvising, or even conducting.
To top it all off, each evening was filled with several headline concerts, where the students could sit back and hear their teachers and the festival’s featured guest artists take the stage.
The Mount Baker groups have worked very hard to be at their best for this festival, collectively putting in up to five hours of rehearsal each day since September. The effort has paid off, with the Concert Choir receiving a Silver Medal on the International standard, the Vocal Jazz group winning a Gold, the Jazz Band earning a Silver and the combined Mount Baker Tour Concert Band, made up of Grade 10, 11 and 12 students, receiving a Gold Medal.
All four of the groups also received inspiring and exciting workshops that, according to many students, proved to be the highlight of the tour. During a vocal workshop, Dorothy Dyck, Chair of the Manitoba Choral Association, said to the students: “You get so much love from your audiences! Can I take you home?”
Colin Clarke, director of the Toronto Youth Orchestra, wrote: “I can tell you are having so much fun when you perform. What a great program!”
Even the 16 hour bus ride home did not dampen the student’s spirits. Now they are pouring their energy into the upcoming Wild Theatre musical production of “Mamma Mia” and are looking forward to presenting their season finale and grad showcase concert at the Key City Theatre in June.