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Music is not just entertainment – it is art, and culture. (Posted On: Wednesday, November 15, 2006)

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It is important to teach our children the significance of music and the joy it brings, and that’s what the Collingwood Collegiate Institute Music Department is all about. Directed by Kevin Hamlin, Mark Spencer, Dennis McAndrew and Kathy Halliday, our future generation is offered one of the largest and most diverse programs in all of the province of Ontario. The program offers a multitude of courses and co-curricular groups, so both beginner musicians and those with experience can find the course that’s right for them and challenge themselves to improve. With vocal, instrumental and even technological courses, every student is sure to find something that suits their individual talent. Each and every student is welcome to join and explore the world of music, from grades nine up until grades twelve, making CCI’s music department one of the most diverse classes within the school!

Students within the music program at CCI have a wide variety of opportunities available to them. Students interested in showing off their instrumental prowess for example could fit very well in with the Concert Bands. The Concert Bands consist of three levels – the Junior Concert Band, the Intermediate Concert Band, and the Senior Concert Band. Over one hundred and eighty students are participating in the concert bands this year, promising to offer a wide variety of talents to their respective bands. These bands perform in a wide variety of events, including Musicfest Canada. The Senior Concert Band also makes up a good majority of CCI’s Marching Band. But if Marching Bands aren’t a student’s forte, and they choose to follow the beat of a different drum, there’s nothing to worry about! CCI has seen a large amount of students take an interest in jazz music, and have set up four different Jazz Ensembles – the Junior Jazz Ensemble, the Intermediate Jazz Ensemble, the Senor Jazz Ensemble, and the Senior Jazz combo. To participate in these more specialized groups, students may audition, or even be invited. This may demand more from some students, with special rehearsals and performances specifically for the Jazz Ensembles (including performances at Musicfest Canada). There is a wide world for today’s instrumentally inclined children – and they can explore every inch of it!

Sometimes instruments just aren’t what students are after. Sometimes their voice is by far the best instrument they have, and makes the most beautiful sound. In which case, CCI has one concert choir comprised of both students who prefer the vocal side of music, and of students who participate on the instrumental side. These students participate in no less then that of the instrumental bands, often making special performances during school events, traveling to other schools or events to perform, and even participating in Musicfest Canada! Students who have a passion for singing should be encouraged to join this special group, and reveal their talents to the world! There have been just as many male students as there have been females, and each has had a voice that has played a part in the choir. With Mr. Dennis McAndrew conducting, the world of vocal music is within reach!

Lastly, for those techno-wizards with a love for music, CCI is proud to offer one of the most advanced music and technology labs available in the province of Ontario. They have a full lab dedicated to giving students the opportunity to compose and arrange music using Cubase software. There are five full sections of this course at the grades ten, eleven, and twelve levels. These students have the opportunity to do many wonderful things, such as composing a piece for Orchestra and entering them into a student composer’s contest, and operating the live digital recording at Musicfest Canada.

Recently, the High School’s Marching Band has grown since last year. This year, a full-sized marching band is in production at the school, standing at over one hundred students strong. CCI has had a tradition of Marching Bands dated back to the 1940’s, and looks and sounds its best this year! As stated before, the backbone of the Marching Band is the Senior Concert Band, while the rest is made up of other students from other levels, or volunteers. Community members have also been encouraged to join during the Christmas season, to create a link between the band and that of the community. This year, the band will be marching in the Toronto Santa Claus Parade on November 20th, the Barrie Santa Claus Parade on November 27th, and the Collingwood Santa Claus Parade on December 4th. It will be a busy year for the musicians, as well as the students working on the colour guard, doing their best to make each member of the band look its best. With so many students, all dedicated to their music, there is bound to be an excellent performance!

For the school over all, it will be a busy year. From March 2nd to March 4th, Collingwood Collegiate Institute will play host to over three thousand people and the Musicfest Canada Georgian Bay Regional Band Festival (mentioned several times before). So many glorious opportunities await the music students of Collingwood; it would almost be a crime to keep them away. So what are we waiting for? It is our job to encourage our children to explore the world of music, to get a taste for the arts, and to improve their skills. We are looking at the musicians of tomorrow, which will compose and perform the music that will be listened to by their future generation. It’s best they get that practice in as early as they can!

Submitted by Scott A. Vandergroef
CCI Co-0p Student

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