GNS Band Performs Virtually for Music Monday
The students performed “Hymn to Freedom” by Oscar Peterson, a renowned Canadian jazz pianist for their virtual band concert.
Every year, GNS Band students participate in a national initiative known as Music Monday, a national day of advocacy through the Coalition for Music Education in Canada. This year, Music Monday was scheduled for May 4, 2020, so the band’s participation had to become virtual.
“The piece was quite impressive since we couldn't be in the same room,” said Finlay Walker-Cutt ’23, trumpet. “Mr. Thompson did a great job editing everyone's recordings together. There were some small tuning issues between instruments, but that is just because we could not perform together.”
The students performed “Hymn to Freedom” by Oscar Peterson, a renowned Canadian jazz pianist. To make this happen Mr. Steve Thompson was able to create a backing track to share with the band students, along with the sheet music for their instruments. They practiced their parts and recorded themselves playing while listening to the backing track in headphones, to ensure everyone was playing to the same beat.
Once Mr. Thompson received the videos from all of the students, he combined them, lined them up, and did some editing. Some students chose to submit audio recordings rather than video, so you can hear some "invisible people" in the final product!
“Considering the circumstances we're in, the piece that Mr. Thompson was able to put together was amazing,” said Dana Escalante Nava ’20. “The song was in sync and the layers coming from different instruments added emotion to the piece. I was very amazed at how well it sounded, as playing on your own isn't the same as being in a band, and it must've been a challenge to arrange the instruments so all of the parts lined up perfectly.”
Dana, who plays the flute, has been part of the GNS band since Grade 8 and said the GNS band is resilient and was happy they were able to put a piece together for the school community.
“I loved that the band was able to adapt to the difficult situation we are in today, and give back to our school community by putting together some beautiful music,” she said. “This goes to show how strong our school community is.”
Megan Vroom ’20 also plays the flute was happy with the idea to continue the performance and noted this video was something she and many of the other Grade 12 students will cherish, as it is one of their last performances before graduating.
“It was amazing how we were all able to create something musical as a whole band during this time of separation,” she said. “I have been listening to a lot of music during quarantine, so it was really fun being able to create our music. With this being my last year of band, I am going to miss it. I know all the Grade 12s are going to remember the many great times we’ve had in band. Mr. Thompson is such a great teacher and always pushes us to be our best while never failing to make us laugh. I speak on behalf of everyone when I say we will miss him and the music we played in his class.”
While it took quite a bit of time to complete, missing the Music Monday deadline by quite a margin, this was a fun way to allow students to still perform as an ensemble, even while apart.
Happy June from the GNS Band—we hope you enjoy the performance!