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Author Tanis Rideout offers thought-provoking library visit

The Macintosh Library was pleased to host Tanis Rideout, a Toronto poet and author whose first work of poetry focused on super-heroines, on Monday, Feb. 22. Her first novel Above all Things, based on George Mallory’s attempt to climb Mount Everest, has been widely acclaimed and praised by author Joseph Boyden as “simply breathtaking.”

While we were delighted to have an author of such calibre in our midst, the main purpose of the visit was to draw attention to our collective connection to what Rideout noted as our “birthright,” our free and safe access to bodies of water for recreation, fishing and enjoyment.

As Poet Laureate of Lake Ontario, Rideout was invited to UCC by science teachers Lisa Bonney and Premek Hamr to focus on a project called Waterkeeper.  As noted in the organization’s promotional pamphlet, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper “is working to win back Lake Ontario, to restore our watershed’s natural assets and to ensure that every community has equal access to natural justice.”

Rideout’s easy and friendly presence with the boys ensured an accessible presentation which acknowledged her stature as a writer. She began by reading from her poetry collection Arguments with the Lake, while also giving the limelight to the larger purpose of her activism and that of a group of artists (including Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip and songstress Sarah Harmer) on environmental justice.

In describing an initiative to gather stories of personal connections with water, called “Watermarks,” Rideout explained to the group that the exercise of recording meaningful testimony is of value in two ways. First, it shifts our collective focus to what we value in nature, and to what we take for granted or habitually characterize in ways that do not serve us. Second, our collective reflections on what we value in the natural landscape can carry weight in a court of law when contesting threats to the environment.

Rideout asked the group, “Do you swim in Lake Ontario?” Most answered no, because the lake is polluted. The author explained that this was not always the case, and that there is an app that the boys can use on their phone called Swim Guide, to find hidden and beautiful swimmable bodies of water to enjoy in Ontario, and to learn how to protect your health as a recreational water user.

The boys were shown some examples of watermarks (from celebrated Canadian author Joseph Boyden, former NHL player Kevin Lowe and Rideout herself) and guided through a discussion as the presentation concluded. Many of the students had ready contributions to make regarding their enjoyment of lakes and their respect for the dangers and power of water in nature.

Boys will create their own watermarks as an environmental systems project, and were encouraged by teacher Heather Crawford to consider the links to other areas of knowledge and ways of knowing as a basis for their work in Theory Of Knowledge.

A display supporting the Waterkeeper initiative and themes connected to Tanis Rideout’s work is currently on at the Macintosh Library.

Mari Roughneen


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Form 7 bands win music festival awards

Upper Canada College’s Form 7 bands, under the direction of teacher Paul McGarr, have been rewarded for their impressive performances at two music festivals.

Form 7 band 2“The boys in all three bands have been working extremely hard at home and during rehearsals to prepare themselves for these festival performances,” says McGarr. “They have come a long way since September.”

The wind ensemble received the gold award and Yamaha Percussion Excellence Award, while Matthew Shouldice was presented with the leadership award for wind ensemble at the Ontario Band Association Festival on Feb. 13. The concert band took the silver award and Aaren Fung received the leadership award for concert band at the same festival.

The jazz band was honoured with the gold award at the Feb. 17 to 19  Humber Next Generation Jazz Festival.

“The boys played very well at each of their performances, which is a great stepping stone towards the Montreal Heritage Music Festival band trip from April 22 to 24 in Oscar Peterson Hall on the campus of Concordia University,” says McGarr.

All three bands will perform at the London Festival of Music on May 6 at Western University.

McGarr says there are 67 boys in the co-curricular music program and 28 of them were new to UCC in September.

Arts News

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Mandarin students hit Pacific Mall to celebrate new year

Mandarin students from Branksome Hall, Havergal College and Upper Canada College, and members of the UCC Mandarin Club, celebrated the first day of the Chinese New Year at the Pacific Mall in Markham on Monday, Feb. 8.

As a crew of 87 people, we had the restaurant for ourselves. This means that we monopolized the Karaoke system, singing a lot of Chinese songs while haBrandon Li & Langdon Kay Charles Deng & Simon Guo Charles Deng, Valentine Liu, Julian Zhao & Charlie Yangving authentic Shanghai cuisine. After our Dim Sum feast, we divided into different groups and participated in a challenging scavenger hunt searching for specific items in the mall. Each member of the winning team won a lucky cat, symbolizing good luck and fortune. For students, that might mean good marks, in the new year.

We also had the opportunity to go shopping and attend a traditional culture show organized by the mall, where we enjoyed the singing and dragon dance. Overall, it was a successful event and we really had a good time. Thanks to Ms. Jane Li for organizing the field trip and to Mme. Mary Gauthier for accompanying us.

Yizhou Yu (IB2) and Victor Pang (IB1)

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Jazz fills the air at Club Bluenote

The velvety sounds of jazz filled the air at UCC’s Club Bluenote on Wednesday, Feb. 3. Weston Hall at the Prep was transformed into a candlelit jazz café, complete with coffee and sweet treats at every table for the audience to enjoy.

Our dedicated and talented boys in the Prep’s Grade 7 jazz band, and the Upper School’s junior, intermediate and senior jazz ensembles performed to a packed house. The intermediate jazz band opened the show with Sonny Rollins’ classic “St. Thomas,” to much applause. The night continued with fabulous music featuring many accomplished soloists, including Rex McArthur on tenor sax and David Zhou on clarinet, both in Grade 7 jazz, Sam Moore on alto sax in junior jazz, Henry Gage on alto sax and Raphael Berz on trumpet in intermediate Jazz, and Brandon Tse on tenor sax in senior jazz.

The Prep choir also performed at Club Bluenote, charming the audience with its swinging renditions of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and all-time favourite standard “Blue Suede Shoes.” The senior jazz ensemble closed the show with Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September,” highlighting the vocal talents of Adair Simpson and guest performer Jen Brodie from the Bishop Strachan School.

What a fun night. Jazz on, gentlemen.

A big thank you to our incredible music teachers – Ms. Edmondson, Mr. Gomes, Mr. McGarr, Ms. Scott, and Mr. Smith – for organizing this wonderful evening.

– by Elissa Fingold for the Arts Booster Club

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UCC-BSS co-production of Pippin enchants and uplifts


There was plenty of “Magic to Do” at the Bishop Strachan School theatre as the Upper Canada College-BSS co-production’s performing arts students put on four sold-out shows of Pippin from Wednesday, Jan. 27 through Saturday, Jan. 30. (“Magic To Do” is the opening number of the show.)

Under the masterful direction of Alice Barnett, musical direction by David Atkinson and vocal direction by Debbie Piotrowski, the cast of 25 sang and danced their hearts out in this edgy, circus-filled performance featuring colourful costumes and impressive acrobatics.joegophotoPIPPEN-54

The play is about a young prince searching for meaning in his life thorough different experiences, from intellectual achievement, lust for women and power, and war.  Sean Manucha was very convincing as the young prince. Nathan McLean portrayed a powerful and commanding King Charlemagne while Benji McLean did not miss a beat as Pippin’s brawny brother Lewis.  And Alex Lawson shined as the cute young boy Theo.joegophotoPIPPEN-66

Rounding out the incredible cast of players were Mark Debono, Christopher Lord, Sarosh Waheed, Kesha Shpilevskiy and Ethan Ullmann. Together they formed a formidable ensemble.

An incredible 10-piece live band accompanied the show including Jacob Gotlieb, Flynn Tanner and Gabriel Birman.

The amazing production team kept everyone in line thanks to the assistant stage managers, amongst them Paul Zaki and Seyon Rajadual. In the end, after it was all said and done and the stage lights were off and make-up and costumes were removed, the audience realized that sometimes your corner of the sky is right where you are.

-The Arts Booster Club

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Prep art reception celebrates Form 4 artists

The Actor’s Court on the second floor of the Prep was abuzz with excitement on Wednesday, Jan. 27. The Form 4 art reception drew a big crowd to celebrate the amazing creativity and hard work of these enthusiastic artists.

As part of their “Ancient Societies” unit of inquiry, Form 4 boys researched mythological characters from past societies and reflected on what these characters can tell us about the values held by those societies. The boys reflected on today’s society and what we value. They created mythological characters inspired by our civilization.

In art class, each boy planned a mask project to represent a specific mythological character. The boys applied their knowledge of clay hand-building techniques to create sculptural masks with physical attributes that communicate the character’s role in 21st century society.

Actors’ Court was filled with joyful, proud looks on the faces of our boys as they showed their parents, friends and siblings their striking mythological clay masks and vibrant Canadian Landscapes acrylic paintings, completed in the fall.

– Astrid Player (Form 4 and Y1 parent) and Monika Kastelic (Primary art teacher)

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Model UN wins huge at Harvard

This is huge news on the Model UN front. Sixteen boys on the Model UN team earned “Best Large Delegation” at the 64th annual Harvard Model United Nations (MUN) in Boston, from Thursday, Jan. 28 to Sunday, Jan. 31. They also earned 15 individual awards. This means UCC was number one of all schools attending. 

More than 3,500 students participated, from 230 schools hailing from 38 different countries. It’s highly competitive and very prestigious. “UCC has not attended this event before and quite frankly, the goal was try our best and see what we could do,” says faculty adviser Matt Griem.

This is, by all accounts, an amazing accomplishment. As the secretary-general of the conference noted, we “made quite an impact.”

This achievement also means we’re the first international team to win the Harvard MUN’s “Best Large Delegation” prize in the past 10 years. (They are currently checking their records as we may be the first international team to ever win the prize!).

If you see these boys, please congratulate them and feel free to ask them about their experience. Thanks also to Jyoti Sehgal for all her planning and prep work, and for helping with supervision.

The team included the following boys (individual awards in brackets):

Elliott Birman (gavel, first place)
Nikhil Kassum (gavel, first place)
James Coady (gavel, first place)
Joe Noss (gavel, first place)
Ronan Murphy (gavel, first place)
Justin Lu (outstanding, second place)
Imran Jessa (best delegation team member)
Matthew Jagdeo (gavel, first place)
Charlie Mortimer (honourable mention, third place)
Tom Reeve (honorable mention, third place)
Miles Hoaken (honourable mention, third place)
Matthew Wang (honourable mention, third place)
Daniel Reid (gavel, first place)
David Niddam-Dent (outstanding, second place)
Adam Rothman (outstanding, second place)
Conrad Mahoney (honourable mention, third place)


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Fall Music Night delights

Family and friends gathered in Laidlaw Hall to enjoy Fall Music Night on Nov. 4. It was UCC’s first major musical event of the school year, showcasing our talented boys. With just a few weeks to prepare, all of the bands and UCC’s choir, The Blue Notes, performed brilliantly to a delighted audience.

The senior wind ensemble opened the show to much applause and set the tone for a very entertaining evening. The Year 1 junior jazz band followed, featuring a wonderful solo by Ben Lee on flugelhorn in “Night Mist.” Performances continued with the concert, symphonic, Intermediate and Senior jazz bands, as well as the vocal harmonies of The Blue Notes. All highlighted the incredible and lively talent of our musicians. The evening ended with a strong solo performance by Brandon Tse in the senior jazz band. The song was titled “Hit the Ground Running.” The boys certainly did!

Many thanks go out to Mr. Gomes, Mr. Smith, Ms. Scott and Mr. Merrick. It’s fantastic to see and hear how far everyone has come in such a short time. Fall Music Night was an enjoyable success!

-Elissa Fingold

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Prep musicians add sparkle to Festival of Christmas Music

(See full video of concert below.)

Laidlaw Hall was filled with the joyous sounds of holiday music as the senior wind ensemble and the Prep and Upper School choirs performed in UCC’s annual Festival of Christmas Music and Readings on Sunday, Nov. 29.

Parents, students and friends came together in song to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. Our musicians and singers were phenomenal, with an impressive vocal solo performance by Form 5 student Andrew Ma in the processional carol, “Once in Royal David’s City.” Other notable performances include talented soloists, Form 5 student Joshua Bougadis and Form 7 student Max Sipos who sang beautifully in “Myn Lyking.”

A special thank you goes to the boys in the Prep concert band who welcomed the audience to the Upper School with a selection of Christmas carols, a terrific prelude to the day’s main event.

Elissa Fingold

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Waiting for Godot … has arrived

The waiting is over as the cast of Ben Caldwell, Aaron Ash Cutajar, Charlie Hughes, Kohilan Paramaanantham and Evan Enns anticipate the arrival of the audience. Waiting for Godot runs from Wednesday, Nov. 25 to Saturday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. in the lecture theatre.

The plot of Samuel Beckett’s play is simple. Two tramps are waiting by a tree for the arrival of Godot. Their comical efforts to pass the time parody the human condition, and the everyday language of their exchanges takes on a universal significance. Two other characters, Pozzo and Lucky, appear as a master and his servant.

Each is representative of vaudeville characters. The purely comical aspect of the play involve traditional routines that come from the entire history of farce. The final character, a boy, appears and offers a message from Godot.

The language of the play has gravity, intensity and conciseness. Beckett’s Godot has its own beauty and suggestiveness and it makes its own comment on humanity’s inexhaustible search for meaning. It has been called one of the most beautiful allegories of our time.

The show would have not been possible without the dedicated and skillful direction of Judith Macdonell, and the fantastic crew: stage manager, Melissa Taylor; costumes and props, Nicki Perpick; fight director, Geoff Scovell; set design, Mr. Denstedt; poster/ticket design, Shaig Abduragimov; stage painting, Duc Pham and Shaig Abduragimov; light designer, Nik Tsatsos; light and sound technician, Ross Graham; “Front of the House”, Owen McKernan and Charles Marshall; Photography Joseph Gorzeman; Film Trailer Maggie Crawford.

Tickets are on sale all week in the student centre.

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