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Making Monday a little sweeter with music

Reynolds band members Alistair Kierulf

250 local music students to join national performance

When students from the Victoria, Saanich and West Shore school districts band together for Music Monday, it’s going to be big, but not too big.

On a national scale, Music Monday will see 700,000 students from 2,000 schools performing Luke Doucet’s “Tomorrow is Coming” at 1 p.m. on May 2.

In Victoria, however, the number of students performing is about 250, a number that’s much easier to handle than the 600-plus Saanich students gathered for last year’s Music Monday.

“It gets unwieldy at that level; it’s hard to keep everyone in unison,” said Royal Oak middle school band instructor Sheri Robertson.

Last year each district organized its own Music Monday event, but this year Robertson, her fellow teachers and volunteers saw an opportunity for student participants to represent the three school districts.

Robertson will lead a contingent of Grade 8 students from three middle schools, North Saanich, Bayside and Royal Oak, as well as a few kids from Claremont and Stelly’s high schools.

Despite a limited number of students this year, the event has grown to new heights, taking on sponsors as well as the guidance of guest director Tania Miller of the Victoria Symphony.

The Victoria Conference Centre is donating space and Tom Lee Music donated T-shirts.

The Coalition for Music Education in Canada started Music Monday in 2005 to celebrate music education. Through the national event, the coalition has worked to promote the importance of music for every child in Canadian schools.

Because the participation numbers are so big the event is open only to media and dignitaries. Organizers hope local federal election candidates, who aren’t allowed to campaign on Monday, will attend.

And with school budgets soon finalized, Robertson said now is a good time to remind those making the budgetary decisions of the importance of music programs.

“We manage to rescue our music programs every year and we want to maintain that profile, so it doesn’t hurt to have people see them.

“Our fight is to get more support for kids at that elementary level,” Roberston said.

Reynolds’ senior band will represent the Saanich high school contingent, while younger Reynolds’ students  such as Grade 10s Isabel Fisher and Alastair Kierulf will put down their instruments to sing in Music Monday’s mass choir.