The Senior School music program provides opportunity for all to perform on a regular basis. The core of our program is instrumental, with concert band offered at each grade level, from 8 to 12. The Senior Concert Band combines students in Grades 10, 11, and 12. Four Jazz Bands also rehearse regularly and meet during the concert band block or Mondays after school. The vocal program is a co-curricular one, meeting at lunch two or three times each week.
Making music in ensemble is important. Students learn to contribute their best toward a common goal of making wonderful music. Not only do they learn that what they do affects others, but also that it is important to identify one’s role in a group (in musical terms - melody, harmony or accompaniment) and to perform accordingly. This approach is another expression of Southridge’s understanding of the value of community, and a recognition of its power to contribute to the greater good.
Grade 8 Concert Band
Students meet as a Concert Band on a regular basis. Though the acquisition of skills on a wind or percussion instrument is of paramount importance, students sing, listen to, and respond to music from a wide variety of time periods and styles. It is expected that students will be able to communicate with their instruments in a musically, culturally and historically appropriate manner.
Musical literacy is stressed as a means to perform the music of the past and present in an accurate fashion. Each year a variety of repertoire is chosen. Pieces are selected from several genres including transcriptions of pieces by the great composers of western music, works composed specifically for the Concert Band, swing and jazz charts, and multicultural and seasonal selections.
Senior Jazz Band
At Southridge, students also have the opportunity to participate in Jazz Band, preparing swing, Latin, and rock tunes with horns (saxes, trumpets and trombones) and rhythm section (bass, guitar, piano, drums and auxiliary percussion). In Grades 8, 9, and 10, three jazz bands meet as a part of the concert band class, rehearsing on average twice per 8-day cycle. The Senior Jazz Band meets after school on Mondays. The Jazz Bands have additional opportunities to perform, both locally at festivals and on tours (within BC, and to the USA and abroad).
In addition, we offer a course in improvisation at the Grade 9 and 10 level, entitled Jazz Studies. Here, students focus on exploring the intriguing world of jazz, developing their own jazz chops, and making music in a small combo setting. This is a second elective at these grade levels, for those particularly interested in focusing on music during their high school years.
For those wanting more than one outlet for their creative talents, there are two vocal groups, a junior level Concert Choir, which is not auditioned, and a senior level auditioned ensemble, called Treble Makers. Both of these groups are co-curricular and meet at lunch.
Concerts and Festival Performances
Each year, all of the music groups and ensembles perform at two concerts, An Evening in December (in December, naturally!) and Café Concerto, in May. Students also audition to perform solos or small group selections at these concerts. We often enjoy string selections, vocal solos, and ballet excerpts, and have even heard sitar, tabla, and some shreddin’ guitar.
In addition, each ensemble, from Grade 8 to 12, attends local or international Music Festivals. In March, the Grade 8 Concert Band attends BandFest at the University of Victoria; in April, the Grade 9’s go to beautiful Whistler for 4 days, at the Whistler Music Festival; the co-curricular ensembles have attended various jazz and concert choir festivals, including Envision (Surrey), Kiwanis (Burnaby & North Vancouver), the Lion’s Club Music Festival (Chilliwack), and the Vancouver Islands Jazz Festival (Nanaimo).
The senior groups regularly participate in performance tours, both near and far. In the past, the Senior Jazz Band and Senior Vocal Jazz Ensemble have traveled to Kelowna for the B. C. Interior Jazz Festival and Moscow, Idaho for the world’s largest educational jazz festival, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (10,000 student jazz musicians in one place makes for a great time!).
The Senior Band has done shorter, three or four day performance tours to Penticton and Kamloops. In 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2012 the Senior Jazz Band and Senior Vocal Ensemble spent an unbelievable week in Cuba, while the Senior Concert Band went to New Orleans for their first major performance tour. In 2008, 53 students in the Senior Concert Band traveled to Italy, Austria, and Prague for 10 days of music, performance, and sightseeing. And in 2014, 33 students travelled once again to Italy.