Band Program Overview
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The Music Program at Central Memorial High School has a rich history as one of the longest running music programs in Alberta. Central Memorial ensembles are recognized worldwide at festivals and contests, maintaining a world class standard of excellence. Students who study a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument will explore many styles of music, and make meaningful connections between technique and artistry through performing and studying with renowned artists in their discipline. Performance ensembles, such as the PVA Wind Ensemble (PVAWE), Concert Band, and M@C Jazz Ensemble, perform locally, regionally, and when possible, internationally throughout the school year. All students are welcome to take part in the music program to join us in music making. PVA Music offers exciting and unique opportunities and access to world-class artists that further their musical experience. All band ensembles are full-year, five-credit courses.
The PVA Music Program is where students learn to be artists, exploring musical literacy and expression through unique programming that is not found elsewhere in the city. The program focuses on the development of the individual musician, providing our students with the abilities, confidence, and opportunities to go wherever their musical journey takes them, for life.
PVA Band students have daily classes as a Wind Ensemble where they learn and reinforce musical development through technique and repertoire. This class includes all PVA auditioned band students in Grades 10-12, where they will find an environment of positive mentorship with like-minded and dedicated musicians. The PVA Band class is timetabled at the same time as PVA Vocal and PVA Strings to provide unique opportunities for students to collaborate on solo and chamber music performance, develop musical fluency literacy and creativity, and dive deep into their personal musical development.
The Concert Band has represented Central Memorial with performances at Provincial, National, and International festivals with cutting edge, exciting repertoire. All wind and percussion students can take part in this ensemble, with the co-requisite Music 10 course in the first semester of Grade 10. Students are welcome to join this intermediate level ensemble and experience a high-caliber program that will challenge them throughout the year.
M@C Jazz Ensemble is an exceptional ensemble with traditional “Big Band” instrumentation. Many of western Canada’s finest jazz musicians are graduates of this program. This ensemble performs at a variety of functions during the school year, and will take an active part in Calgary’s Jazz community. Enrolment is open to all students by audition during the first week of the fall term.
Standard/General Band is a new opportunity for students who have not had the opportunity to take a band class in Junior High or Middle school, and would like to learn a wind instrument for the first time. This class meets all year outside of the timetable.
Instrumental students may have the opportunity to perform with other PVA disciplines throughout the year. They are strongly encouraged to enhance their musical development through private instruction, which is offered for an additional fee in partnership with Mount Royal Conservatory’s Advanced Performance Program and Chinook School of Music’s private lesson program.
- Are PVA music students required to take private lessons?
It is strongly recommended that PVA music students study privately with a professional instructor. This experience will facilitate strong foundational skills necessary in developing independence and confidence. Students will have a short series of private lessons each semester as part of their coursework in both PVA Band and PVA Bridging, and it is encouraged to continue those lessons beyond the time provided to further develop your strengths.
- What time commitment is required to be a PVA music student?
Music students typically attend one to three morning or after school rehearsals per week. In addition, Jazz Ensembles and Vocal Jazz meet either before or after school two or three times per week and those programs are by audition only. Music students perform at several concerts and events and tour each year. Tours take place in the province, within Canada, or internationally.
- When do PVA music students take Leadership in the Arts 35?
All PVA Music 30 students are required to complete Leadership in the Arts 35 and earn 30 fine arts credits in order to receive their Fine Arts PVA Certificate. This course is delivered in conjunction with PVA classes throughout your high school career, so that you have a full portfolio of work to prepare you for a life rich with music beyond high school, whether you choose to pursue music at post-secondary or not. Students will interview professional musicians, attend workshops and performances, develop a list of performance repertoire, study privately, develop a personal portfolio, and complete a final exit interview. These courses are not scheduled into the timetable, but updates and teacher-led content will occur throughout the courses.
- Are all instrumental students considered PVA students?
Yes! Standard/General Band courses and PVA Band, Voice, and Strings are all part of the PVA umbrella, as are all of our large ensembles. These are great opportunities to explore your art form. All students benefit from the opportunities provided at Central, they just get to choose how many experiences they want to work for!