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Program promotes belonging through music in Lewisporte


Students passionate to preserve school’s musical legacy

LEWISPORTE, NL – After taking the sole gold win at the Grand Falls-Windsor Kiwanis Music Festival, the Lewisporte Collegiate Concert Band continue to solidify their long-standing legacy and reputation.
The school’s music program, which has a current enrollment of 107 of Lewisporte Collegiate’s 236 students, has ingrained itself with a definite role in the school’s culture.
“There’s always been a passionate band program here,” said music teacher and band/choir coordinator Adam Baxter. “Band is part of the culture and it has been for a long time.”
With nearly 50 per cent enrollment in the music program, the passion and enthusiasm encouraged by the school has been planted and grown in the hearts of many students.
Love of music
Lucas De Oliveira has had a love of music and playing guitar since he was seven. De Oliveira currently plays the trumpet for the concert band and is hoping to take up French horn next year.
The Grade 10 student says his years with the Lewisporte music program have taught him the value in pursuing music and not letting passion go unnoticed
“It’s taken my love of music so much further,” said De Oliveira. “It increased my desire to learn and even now to write music.”
The collegiate band features over 20 instruments, including saxophones, clarinets, trumps, French horns, trombones, a bass guitar and a variety of percussion instruments. The band is now working on a piece with pre-recorded samples bringing a laptop to the band’s elaborate sound.
Grade 11 student and alto saxophone player Abigail Cramm says belonging to such an expansive and reputable collective has given her a sense of belonging.
“When you’re not at the top of the academic achievers you can feel like you’re under the radar,” said Cramm. “It’s cool to be a part of something that’s so big, you really feel like you’re a part of the school.”
For many students, the populated rehearsal space has been highly beneficial. Continually working with and competing with other students, Grade 11 student and trumpet player Abbey Hutchings says no one feels like just another face in the crowd.
“We all help each other and Mr. Baxter takes the time to individually help us,” Hutchings said. “He’s got a nickname for just about everyone.”
Baxter is now in his third year teaching in Lewisporte. He keeps a busy schedule teaching the collegiate band in three separate groups, Grades 7-9 music at Lewisporte Intermediate, and jazz and choir groups besides.
Baxter says having an enthusiastic group of students he gets to work with from Grade 7 onward is a definite ease to this hectic agenda.
Continuing the legacy
The pressure is also on Baxter to continue Lewisporte’s renowned reputation, and Baxter and the students are grateful the school has provided such a strong support system for the music program.
For example, some students such as Grade 10 clarinet player Jenna Freake have been granted the option of taking their healthy living course outside of the regular semester, allowing more time to schedule music into their studies.
“Luckily the school is really accommodating and allowing students to take it all three years,” Baxter said of the collegiate music program.
Through her many years of involvement, Freake says her confidence and interest in music have undoubtedly prospered.
“Music is definitely one of those things where I can relax and still succeed,” she said. “Other stuff, like getting ready to make a serve when I play volleyball, that can be very stressful. When I go to perform at Kiwanis, I don’t feel as stressed, but I know I’m still succeeding at something.”
Grade 12 student Geoffrey Noseworthy plays bass clarinet and tenor saxophone. Noseworthy has been a part of the music program since seventh grade, and each semester he’s fought to stay involved in this expressive form of education.
“I’ve always been more of an academic student than an artistic student, but I’ve found music is a great break from sitting in class to moving around and expressing yourself,” he said. “It’s more about developing a skill than just knowing an answer.”
As he prepares to graduate this year, leaving behind the instruments and group he’s gotten to know so well, will be a saddening moment for Noseworthy.
“It feels like I’m giving a part of myself away, but I’m very grateful to have been a part of this program and develop these skills,” he said.
Now the Lewisporte Collegiate music program is preparing for its spring concert with several new pieces under development.
Despite the relentless practices, lessons and gargantuan class sizes, Baxter says there is a deeply rewarding feeling in carrying on a music program of such immense popularity and prestige.
“I think what’s most fulfilling for me is that I get to wake up in the morning and not dread where I’m going,” said Baxter. “Music is my life and something I convinced myself at a young age I’d do for the rest of my life.
“Music has done so much for me in my life that the least I can do is spread whatever knowledge and passion I have to other people.”

 

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