This is it! From the more than 15,000 music students and 1,000 submissions from every province and territory in Canada, our judges have finally made their decisions in all seven categories of the 2018 Canadian Music Class Challenge.
On behalf of everyone at CBC Music and MusiCounts, congratulations to our winners and a heartfelt thank you to all the teachers and students who took part in this year's challenge. It was an overwhelming showcase of talent, and a great salute to music education in this country.
Check out the winners in categories one to seven below.
Category 1: Elementary Instrumental
Winner: Cloverdale Traditional School, Victoria, B.C., with “What I Wouldn’t Do."
Music teacher: Fiona Jones.
Since September, the Cloverdale Clovers have dedicated lunch hours and recesses to learning and rehearsing their arrangement of Serena Ryder’s “What I Wouldn’t Do." In addition, considerable time was spent at home practising their individual parts. They focused on not only using traditional school instruments, but also incorporating more contemporary sounds into their arrangement.
Their motto became “Teamwork makes the dream work,” as students took their individual love of creating and making music and saw what was possible when working together with others as part of an ensemble. Over time, the adults involved took steps back, and became facilitators, while the students themselves decided what worked and what didn’t, supported and encouraged each other and, in the end, found that they got just as much from the process as they did from the end product. It truly was the journey, not the destination, that furthered and nurtured their innate love of music.
Judge's comment, from CBC Music producer Andrea Gin: "I loved the Cloverdale Clovers' creative interpretation of the song, and especially their use of both traditional instruments and electronic elements in the mix. They have truly put their own stamp on the song — a remarkable feat for such a young group!"
Category 2: Elementary Vocal
Winner: École Agnes Davidson, Lethbridge, Alta. with a medley of "Hallelujah,” “Mon Pays" and "Big Yellow Taxi."
Music teacher: Meagan Thorlakson.
École Agnes Davidson School is a dual-track French immersion school in Lethbridge, Alta., which has a vibrant community of 560 students. They regularly astonish their parents and guardians by the level of complex music-making they are able to achieve. As a community, École Agnes Davidson has been focusing on the importance of gratitude. Students have expressed how grateful they are for the vast landscape, stunning beauty and resources of Canada. This pairs with their gratitude for amazing Canadian musicians, their stories and the beauty of music.
All of this comes together in their performance for the CBC Canadian Music Class Challenge 2018 while keeping with the philosophy of a French immersion dual track school. The students from grades 1 through 5 of École Agnes Davidson School are thrilled to demonstrate their musical capabilities to the entire country while expressing some of what they love about our incredible country.
Judge's comment from CBC Music host and producer Grant Lawrence: “Elementary Vocal was an incredibly tough category, filled with excellent performances, but École Agnes' triumphant and inclusive medley of 'Hallelujah,' 'Mon Pays,' and 'Big Yellow Taxi' is truly amazing. They have managed to unite both of our official languages in a seamless, moving and very ambitious performance of three classic Canadian songs. Well done and congratulations!”
Category 3: Junior High Instrumental
Winner: École élémentaire publique Julie-Payette, Kanata, Ont., with "Mummers' Dance."
Music teacher: Maxime Bégin.
The Accent-Musique project at École élémentaire publique Julie-Payette is offered to kids from grades 4 to 8 who love music and can never have enough of it. They meet twice a week to sing in a choir and play in a homemade orchestra together. Since this class is not graded, there are no limits to what they can do. Accent-Musique is an artistic pre-concentration program affiliated with the Centre d’excellence artistique de l’Ontario. Since it started in 2016, the group won gold at the Kiwanis Festival and got to sing twice with the Tenors for We Day in honour of Gord Downie. They rock!
Judge's comment, from opera singer and Tempo host Julie Nesrallah: “I loved this performance because of all the interesting instrumental colours they added. Love the ukuleles, the headbands, the guitar solo, recorder choir and harp! Terrific overall best performance."
Category 4: Junior High Vocal
Winner: Mildenhall Montessori School, Etobicoke, Ont., with a medley of "Weighty Ghost" and "What I Wouldn't Do."
Music teacher: Alana Kurtis.
This 10-piece band from the Mildenhall School in Etobicoke, Ont., has been learning to play everything from egg shakers to the electric bass, and the students were very excited to be participating in their second Canadian Music Class Challenge. They decided to mash up “Weighty Ghost” by Wintersleep and “What I Wouldn’t Do” by Serena Ryder. They really enjoyed working together to arrange these awesome songs. Congratulations, Mildenhall — it worked!
Judge's comment, from Hey Ocean! lead singer Ashleigh Ball: “The performance by the Mildenhall School was my top choice because it really showcases the kids' individual talents as well as their ability to play together. The marimbas accompanying the song added such a cool element, and the kids on the hand, drum and tamborine at the back just slayed me — such focus! There were so many amazing performances by so many talented kids. I was honoured to be part of the Canadian Music Class Challenge and was blown away by the talent in this category. This was such a hard decision!"
Category 5: High School Instrumental
Winner: Orchard Park Secondary School, Stoney Creek, Ont., with "Hallelujah."
Music teacher: Wendy Young.
The Orchard Park Concert Band involves students from grades 9 to 12. The full band practises once a week, and many of the students are currently taking music classes as well. The class just got back from an inspiring music trip to see the Broadway show Come From Away, and the students are now gearing up for their self-authored show for local schools. They’ve also enjoyed putting together their performance of "Hallelujah" for CBC!
Judge's comment, from renowned orchestra conductor Dina Gilbert: “While listening with my eyes closed, I was transported by the richness of the sound, the gentle phrasing and the perfect blend between all those wonderful musicians. I could tell these musicians were well aware of the meaning of the notes, as well as the meaning 'between the notes,' listening carefully to each other to present this interpretation."
Category 6: High School Vocal
Winner: J. Percy Page High School, Edmonton, Alta., with "Weighty Ghost."
Music teacher: Jacob Feniak.
J. Percy Page is a high school located in south Edmonton. This group is made up of students from the General Music 10, 20 and 30 classes who were interested in coming together to perform a song for the CBC Music Class Challenge. We decided to make the video submission a multi-discipline project, including the video class, which shot the video, and various students that recorded the audio and coordinated the lighting and stage setup.
Judge's comment from Odario Williams, lead singer of Grand Analog and host of CBC Music's After Dark: "This particular class captures the essence of the song. It sends chills down my spine. The vocal deliveries and harmonies are well executed, and the overall feel of the song is hauntingly good. I admire the use of melodica as well! Congratulations!"
Category 7: MusiCounts Passion Prize
Winner: Calgary Arts Academy, Calgary, Alta., with "People’s Champ."
Music teacher: Garrett Thorson.
Calgary Arts Academy is an innovative public charter school that, through arts immersion, engages children to become confident learners and spirited citizens. Through the combined efforts of 130 singers, 60 instrumentalists, 85 dancers, three music instructors, two dance artists and six homeroom teachers/videographers, this performance was captured live-off-the-floor during their eighth (and final) take on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018.
Judge's comment from the MusiCounts team: "This video seems to involve the whole school, which is awesome. There was great incorporation of many instrument types, lots of movement and, above all, tons of passion and a great attitude!"
Each winning class receives $5,000 of new musical instruments for their school, anda plaque for their trophy case. Congratulations again to all of these victorious classes and music teachers, and to every single student and teacher who took part in the challenge this year.