Graminia school band program hits the right note with students and parents

30
Art/Music/Drama, Graminia School

Thursday, November 30, 2023 – A long-running program at Graminia School that nearly went flat is
hitting the high notes in the 2023-2024 school year.

The Graminia School band program, which began more than 20 years ago, was facing low enrolment
after the COVID-19 pandemic but thanks to some unique changes to school programming, it has become a popular option for students.

“Graminia created an arts block for each day, which required all students to commit to one of the
complementary options programs associated with the arts. That little bit of a forced hand got some of
our students in,” Treena Neumann, principal at Graminia School explained. “That brought in the idea of bringing in a winning tradition.”

Neumann and Ethan West, the band teacher, along with members of the band, visited the Parkland
School Division Board of Trustees at the Tuesday, November 28, 2023 board meeting to boast about the program and give trustees a musical treat.

The board heard that having students take band created a passion in the students and many continue
into non-required band classes.

“We are in year three and we now have 50 students who are in beginner band in Grade 6 and went to
the sessional courses, and 26 of our students are currently, on their own volition and choice, are
continuing in concert band. They are coming up with their Christmas concert, we have a spring concert and a spring tour is in the works for this year,” Neumann said.

Neumann said the program’s success has a lot to do with the teacher involved but also the student’s
passion and parental support at the school.

“He (West) is able to generate the excitement needed and the thrill to take the risk and he went room to room, door-to--door, and student to student explaining how amazing band is,” she said. “Obviously you learn to play an instrument and getting to perform but he also showed the other components of band, which are really about community, creativity and working together.”

Graminia offers music from kindergarten to Grade 6, following the Alberta Curriculum, but students at
the school also have the opportunity to choose to learn woodwind, brass or percussion instruments
from Grades 7 to 9 in beginner band. If they have a passion for music, they can go on to take senior
band, which allows them to continue to develop their abilities and refine their music reading skills, work on postures and play jazz, rock and improvisation.

There were eyes watering in the crowd and on the board after the students played and explained their
passion for music and parents noticed.

“I can feel the passion that is developing in them and it is exciting to see happen in our kids, to see the passion start to develop, and to see the conviction of them choosing this option,” a parent explained to the board. “When my son came home and said he was doing band, there was an excitement about it and it was really beautiful to see.”

Board Chair, Lorraine Stewart hopes the program continues to excel and grow.

“I do appreciate you being here and sharing your passion. Learning is passion and passion is learning and it is exemplified by you being here. It is a lifelong skill and talent you will carry on even if you don’t go into band in high school,” explained Stewart. “Thank you very much to your band teacher for all the work and all his passion which goes from him to you and it is so evident.”

You can learn more about the band program at https://graminia.psd.ca/programs/music

For further information, contact:
Graminia School
Email: graminia@psd.ca
Phone: 780-963-5035

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