April 23rd, 2024

Symphony helping mentor young band musicians


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman For the Lethbridge Herald on May 27, 2021.

Submitted photo Members of the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra were able to connect online with students from Gilbert Paterson Middle School band classes as part of a mentorship program.

The pandemic has had an impact on everyone, but for arts and musical organizations, it has been particularly devastating since the beginning.
This has impacted more than just professionals. Performances by school bands have been put on hold as well. At some points of the pandemic, even practices were put on hold.
Everyone has had to adapt. From students, to educators to members of the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra.
Recently members of the LSO were able to connect with students from Gilbert Paterson Middle School Online Band classes to do mini-clinic sessions with both Grade 7 and Grade 8 band students.
In normal years, the LSO offers mentorship supported by the RBC Foundation Orchestra Mentorship program, to advanced instrumental students through rehearsals and performances, side by side with professional and accomplished musicians in the orchestra.
“We’re not performing so we can’t do the mentorship program like we have previously, so the RBC foundation was still generous in offering this support to us if we were able to find a way to do so,” said Nick Sullivan, bass trombonist with the LSO.
“We organized the kids into breakout rooms with the clinicians based on which instrument they played. I had nine different rooms running at the same time,” said Gilbert Paterson Band Director Karly Lewis.
They were able to work with the students on their technique, sound and music that they are currently playing in their school ensembles, while also demonstrating through short performances for the students to encourage their continued practice and performance in music.
“There was no cost to my students, which is huge. Private lessons are a huge expense for families, so the fact that my kids were able to work with professional level musicians on the instrument that they’re learning, it’s not common,” added Lewis.
The LSO’s plan was to help support the programs in the community and schools that have been working very hard, under very difficult circumstances, to keep music alive in their schools.
The LSO also offered conversations with students regarding what is like to have a career in music, or what are some of the pathways that you can keep music in your life, even if that’s not your career aspiration.
Other schools that have benefited from the mentorship program include Chinook High School, LCI and Wilson Middle School.

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