Arbutus Global Middle School’s band class won the junior vocals category of CBC’s Canadian Music Class Challenge with their performance of French folk song, J’entends le Moulin. (Courtesy of Canadian Music Class Challenge)

VIDEO: Saanich middle school’s modern twist on French folk wins Canada-wide music competition

Arbutus Global Middle Schools takes home second win in Canadian Music Class Challenge

A Greater Victoria band class is basking in the joy of its second Canada-wide musical win.

For the second time, a band class from Arbutus Global Middle School won CBC’s Canadian Music Class Challenge, an 11-category national competition between nearly 1,200 classes from across the country. Classes chose from a number of songs and prepare a performance in a matter of months before recording and submitting their final take.

READ ALSO: Arbutus choir captures hearts with ‘Hallelujah’ rendition

Arbutus Global Middle School’s band class, taught by music teachers Michael Mazza and Jennifer Hill, won first prize in junior vocal (Grades 7 to 10) earning the musically-talented youngsters $3,000 in new musical instruments and a plaque.

The song is a French folk song from the 1700s called “J’entends le Moulin” – with a modern twist of course.

“We decided to take it and flip it on its head,” Mazza said. “We decided it would be interesting to play to the strengths of the kids and incorporate beat boxers … our violinist, a drum machine and a chorus.”

The band kept some of the original sounds, using and a fiddle and spoons to maintain the folk-y origin of the song but then added a decidedly youthful, contemporary energy to a melody hundreds of years old.

“But we decided to electrify it and make it quite a bit funkier.”

It’s the second big win for the team, which also took home first place in 2017 for its performance of the Olympic theme song.

“Now that we won again, the kids are totally elated,” Mazza said. “We’re basking in the glory of having done it both times…it’s been awesome.”

READ ALSO: Arbutus, Campus View orchestras will air on CBC Olympic broadcast

Mazza said it’s exciting to see the students so engaged in the music.

“My job is to bring out the best in students and show them how the hard work is done, and I think we’ve done that with this video,” he said. “Just seeing their effort hard work and dedication to the program, I’m really proud of the students, no question about it.”

“This competition…highlights the value of music education in schools,” Mazza added. “These kids are the future of Canadian music.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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