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Outstanding UCC showings at regional music festivals

Gold medals were awarded to the Upper School’s wind ensemble (Years 10 to 12) and symphonic band (Years 8 and 9), all three Upper School jazz bands and all three Year 7 bands (concert, wind and jazz ensemble).
Festival adjudicators determined that the gold standard in performance was achieved, and that all criteria set forth in the respective categories were met. Musicians competed against the stipulated standards as opposed to other groups. 

Additionally, the Upper School’s symphonic band and wind ensemble received outstanding performance awards at the Ontario Band Festival; they and the intermediate jazz band were invited to the national festival, as were all three Year 7 bands. 

“The boys should feel really good about this,” says Tony Gomes, music director at the Upper School. “They worked really hard and really prepared. They dedicated themselves to figuring out who they are as musicians and how to communicate it in a public way.”

Paul McGarr, music director for the Prep, says, “I try to teach them that the awards are really just the opinion of a few people. It’s more about how they feel about their own performance.”

All bands and ensembles meet with one of the adjudicators after their performances to get feedback and to learn where there is room for growth.

“Sometimes, it’s good for them to hear suggestions from someone other than their band leader,” says McGarr. “I always say that I am proud of their growth, glad to see them having a good time onstage and proud of the way they handle themselves there. I want them to feel good about their performance. Anything else is just a bonus.”

Excitingly, the Year 7s will be travelling to Chicago to perform in the Heritage World Studies Festival.

“Usually there are only high school bands performing in this festival, but they’ll be competing against the standard,” says McGarr. “They’ve earned the trip and all their hard work will be worthwhile.”

The Year 7 musicians are working hard to prepare for their performances, but they are also looking forward to the tourist activities planned for the weekend: a Major League Baseball game, a performance by the Blue Man Group and a taste of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza among them.

April will be a busy month for UCC performances here in the city. The Upper School groups will be performing at the College’s annual arts festival Nuit Bleue on April 11; the  jazz band will take part in Jazz Night on April 26, a fundraiser; and the Year 7 bands will be performing in Jazz@York.
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