Hitting all the Right Notes: 2022 Spring Music Concerts
Two evenings filled with music, joy, and community as the St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) family came together to celebrate the Arts at the 2022 Spring Music Concerts.
“Being able to bring the SMCS community back into our theatre to experience the live performance of our music students has been so needed,” says Jamie Oatt, Head of the Music Department. “The students exceeded our expectations given the challenges this year with COVID. Witnessing their pride and joy while connecting and making music together on stage has been incredibly fulfilling.”
This year’s Spring Concert series marks the first time since December 2019, where students have been able to perform for an audience in our theatre, the Centre for the Arts.
“We did not have the ability to properly rehearse the various ensembles until late February due to COVID protocols,” says Oatt. “All things considered, we are so proud of our student musicians for their hard work and dedication to preparing concert repertoire in such a short period of time.”
As they were able to, the various ensembles spent time rehearsing after school, during lunch, and during class where possible.
“Some of the more challenging pieces had to be started back in February, especially for the Senior Concert Band,” says Oatt. “For most though, the repertoire was introduced just after the March Break when their technique in Grades 8 and 9 began to come to fruition.”
A new and welcome addition to the musical performances this year were the colourful visuals that were projected onto the acoustic panels behind the musicians.
“We were able to project text and images related to the music being performed by each band,” says Oatt. “It is something we will continue to build on next year and potentially be able to incorporate some cross-curricular opportunities for our Media Arts students.”
Throughout both evenings, almost 200 music students performed for an audience of about 700 parents, families, and friends!
“It was so amazing to be back in the theatre; the energy was amazing and the students were incredible. The experience has lit a fire in Hayden (as if he needed more),” says Nicole Fraser, parent of two SMCS students. “He has been on a high since performing and now intends to take music until Grade 12. He’s been thoroughly inspired and is so excited to continue with his musical education and for this, I can’t thank you enough.”
The first evening featured the Grade 9 Beginner and Advanced Bands, Grade 10 Symphonic Band, and Senior Jazz Ensemble.
“It felt exhilarating in a way that I never felt before,” says Jacob DaCambra, Grade 8 student. DaCambra plays both saxophone and French horn and performed on both evenings with the Grade 9 Advanced Band, Junior Jazz Band, and Grade 8 Concert Band. “The most memorable moments for me were performing in the Junior Jazz Band and my saxophone solos.”
The finale to the first concert on May 24 included a special performance of ‘Riverside March’ by both the Grade 9 Advanced Band and Grade 10 Symphonic Band, combining approximately 80 students on stage at one time.
“Being able to hold a live concert at the Centre for the Arts theatre felt incredible in so many ways,” says Julien Garner, Grade 12. Garner has been playing the trumpet for the past six years and participated in both concerts. “Many of my friends were robbed of their final concert due to COVID. To say the least, I feel extremely grateful and thankful that I was able to be a part of my final spring concert.”
The second evening showcased performances by the Grade 8 Concert Band, Junior Jazz Ensemble, and the Senior Concert Band.
“It was actually my first time performing in a concert live at SMCS. It was a thrill and an honour to sing and play with other talented musicians,” says Yetti Li, Grade 12. Li sang and played the tenor saxophone on both nights with the Senior Jazz Ensemble and Senior Concert Band. “Not gonna lie, I’m a little sad that it was my last concert.”
In addition to the evening concerts put on for the community, senior music students also played two day-time concerts for students in Grades 7 to 11.
“What I missed most was being able to collaborate live on stage with my friends and peers,” says Garner. “You lose so much when everything is online. The subtle details and nuances you lose from being in the same room as someone. Those little details that come out are crucial to music in my experience. Also bringing joy and music to the St. Mike’s community is a pleasure, to see the smiles on students’ and parents’ faces makes my whole year.”
The huge success of both concerts would not have been possible without the tireless work of the Music Department faculty: Jamie Oatt, Christopher Plock, Amy McLennan, and Brad Harrison, as well as theatre staff: Steven Cline and Matthew Sirna.
“I want to note how excellent the whole music department has been throughout this year,” adds Garner. “All the boys were excellent in preparing their respective parts and showing up to rehearsals. In particular though, none of what happened could have happened without the incredible leadership and support of Ms. McLennan, Mr. Plock, and Mr. Oatt.”
Check out our photo gallery below featuring memorable moments of the 2022 Spring Music Concerts: