For the past three years, CBC Music, in association with MusicCounts, has challenged music classes across Canada to learn a great Canadian song. From both elementary and high schools, past entries have included everything from jazz bands, kazoo classes, guitar clubs, symphonies, choirs and so much more! Over 500 classes entered last year's Music Class Challenge, showcasing diverse talents, in four languages, from coast to coast to coast.
Below, check out the winning entries in each category of the 2016 Canadian Music Class Challenge.
The winning school in each category was rewarded with a high-tech classroom recording kit, as well as a commemorative plaque.
Congratulations, everyone! Your music class can still sign up for the 2017 Canadian Music Class Challenge here.
Category 6: High School Vocal/Choral (a cappella or with band)
Mayfield Secondary School, Caledon, Ont.
About the school: Under the direction of Jennifer Moon, the Magnetics are one of two senior vocal jazz classes at Mayfield Secondary School. This credit repertoire course is comprised of students in grades 10, 11 and 12. This ensemble encompasses a group of dedicated students who, through their hard work and commitment, excel in the vocal jazz idiom. The class chose an a capella rendition of “Stitches” to record. The mix is live off of their sound board, as all singers perform on mic in this course. The ensemble thought it would be fun to feature as many singers on solos as possible and add a half-time feel.
Note from the judges: It's hard to think of another group of this size that sings in such perfect harmony. The Magnetics' amazing vocal display took this performance from 0-100 with their very first note.
Category 5: High School Instrumental
St. Francis Junior High + Catholic Central High School, Lethbridge, Alta.
Song: "Ahead by a Century"
About the School: This performance was a team effort between students at St. Francis Junior High and Catholic Central High School. While preparing for this project, the groups worked together to be part of something bigger than themselves. The senior ensembles loved being mentors for the beginning band. Everyone took ownership of this project. The teachers said that being involved with a project of this nature is a valuable experience for their students and has enhanced their overall musicianship.
Note from the judges: The tightness of the players speaks to each group's ability to come together and work cohesively … extremely impressive, and come on, just listen to those steel drums!
Category 4: Junior High School Vocal/Choral (a cappella or with band)
Bicentennial School, Dartmouth, N.S.
Song: "2 Heads"
About the school: The Bicentennial B-Sides are from Dartmouth, N.S. The B-Sides are a very dedicated group of students in grades 7 to 9 who love music and spend most lunches in the music room creating their own sound. Their take on Coleman Hell’s "2 Heads" showcases their creativity, talent and love of music. The instrumentation alongside the vocals create a fun and engaging performance for the CBC Canadian Music Class Challenge 2016.
Note from the judges: Each student brought something special to this performance ... I loved that there were more instruments than a Walk Off the Earth song and a hand-clap breakdown to rival Fitz and the Tantrums!
Category 3: Junior High School Instrumental
Dr. Annie B Jamieson Elementary, Vancouver, B.C.
About the school: The 2016 Jamieson Pops Orchestra (featured in the video) is an extra-curricular group of 57 hard-working grade 6 and 7 students who enjoy learning new music together and sharing music with others. For the Canadian Music Class Challenge they chose Shawn Mendes’s "Stitches." They knew they had made the right choice of song when one of our cellists was stepped on by a horse and needed stitches in her face, just in time for the video. She’s recovering nicely, thank goodness! Their arrangement of Shawn Mendes’s hit song was stitched together by the Jamieson Strings program’s director, Mr. James Colpitts. This performance is dedicated to our school’s selfless team of parent volunteers (led by Stephanie Yada and Vanessa Munro) in appreciation for all of the time and energy they give to make the school a better place.
Note from the judges: This class managed to make Bartok, Beethoven, Brahms and Mendes wish they were in that classroom playing an instrument! Just stunning.
Category 2: Elementary School with Vocal/Choral (a cappella or with band)
Honoré Mercier Elementary, Saint-Léonard, Que.
Song: "2 Heads"
About the school: In this video, Honoré Mercier interpreted “2 Heads” by Coleman Hell. The project was open to all grades 4, 5, and 6 students, and they practised three to four times a week at lunch for a month. The drummer had to be taught the drum part and spent time practising it at home, without a drum set. Two children, on synths, played the piano and bass parts, and they also had three children play guitars, and another child played the congas. They decided to sing the chorus in three languages: English, French and Italian. English and French, because the children receive an equal amount of instruction in French and English; Italian because the majority of the students are of Italian origin (99 per cent).
Note from the judges: I loved their fearlessness, the fact that they practised hard in and out of school, and that they incorporated three languages into the mix — that is extremely impressive!
Category 1: Elementary School Instrumental
Campus View Elementary School, Victoria, B.C.
About the school: Campus View Elementary School is a K-5 school in Victoria, B.C. The school's extra-curricular Orffestra Club is made up of approximately 60 students from grades 3 to 5. These students have chosen to join this music club, and they rehearse together one lunchtime per week. They have a variety of instruments in this group including xylophones, ukuleles, soprano/alto recorders, string bass, violins, flute and piano. They saw the Canadian Music Class Challenge as an exciting opportunity to share their music with others across Canada.
Note from the judges: It’s never easy to play together with such a large group, but these kids make it look effortless, and really fun! Just look at that girl completely owning that upright bass, amazing job by all!
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