June 18th, 2024

Local students shortlisted for CBC Classroom Music Challenge

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 8, 2022.

Submitted photo Students from St. Francis Junior High came together to make a music video for CBC Music's Canadian Music Class Challenge, making it to the finals for the Junior Vocals (Grades 7 to 10).

Students from St. Francis Junior High School are among the finalists for the CBC’s Classroom Music Challenge, singing “We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)” by Trooper.

The Canadian Music Class Challenge is CBC Music’s salute to music education in association with MusiCounts, inviting music instructors to teach their students a Canadian song from a pre-approved list and perform on camera for judges to see.

Competing in Category 6: Junior Vocals, grades 7 to 10, students are one of ten groups vying for the prize of $3,000 in new musical instruments and a plaque.

“It’s a chance for kids across Canada to perform a tune,” said Kyle Harmon, band teacher at St. Francis. “In June, Chris (Chris Hartman, choir teacher at St. Francis) and I sat down with the list and the Trooper song stood out to us. We worked something out at the start of this school year. The intent was we perform and then we make a video, which goes up on the CBC YouTube music class which is potentially viewed nationwide.”

The video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeGd4T_gd9Q

Harmon and his wife, Sarah Harmon, won the challenge back in 2016.

“This year, Chris and I, we worked together on something and it has been rewarding for ourselves and the kids. We needed some focus and opportunities for kids coming out of the pandemic,” said Harmon. “Everything is new and fresh in terms of performance art, like music. A lot of kids they come in to our groups, non-auditioned and very diverse. We get kids from all walks of life coming through the doors and some have never seen an instrument before. It’s really cool to see the kids have success.”

Thanks to funds provided through a grant from the Lethbridge Community Foundation, helping purchase the school’s Brazilian percussion instruments, students were able to perform their best for their chance to win.

“We surprised the kids,” said Harmon. “They didn’t know what we were up to. We gathered everyone in a common space and we started setting up the microphones and recording equipment. We called them down and their eyes got big and they were wowed by the whole thing.”

With the winners being announced Dec. 14, the nail biting will keep students on the edge of their seat to see if they win.

“Supporting arts education, especially music education, is a way to provide those mental health pieces as well as music connecting mental, physical, and emotional holistic skills,” said Harmon. “I think we need, parents and kids, to take a leap of faith and join our programming and support the arts. Because without that, everything is a lot quieter.”

St. Francis Junior High School was the only Lethbridge school to be shortlisted for the challenge.

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