THORNHILL JUNIOR band students won their highest number of awards at Music Fest Canada in their last time there.
The concert band brought back gold, the jazz band won gold and the jazz combo won silver in what was also the most musical groups the school has ever entered, said band teacher Mike Wen.
“I figured they’d do really well,” said Wen. In addition to those bands and combo, a sax quartet and clarinet trio played too.
Students were also on exchange, visiting Carleton Place School, whose band students were here for a week in April.
Thornhill students took a tour of the city of Carleton Place given by the mayor, took workshops at Queens University taught by one of Wen’s former professors, played a joint concert with their hosts, toured Parliament and visited the National War Museum.
Jazz students took workshops from Gordon Foote, the head of jazz at McGill University, which is known to be the best school for jazz at the post-secondary level, said Wen.
“The kids were pretty well floored by his ideas and the way he demonstrated things,” he said.
During the week they were there, they listened to the adjudicators’ comments on how they could reach the next level and they improved and their performances were better and better as the week went on, said Wen.
Several MusicFest adjudicators saw Thornhill Jr. on the program and came just to hear the students play; quite a few of the adjudicators had been to Terrace as clinicians or adjudicators, said Wen.
Overall, the students got even more out of the experience than they expected.
“They really enjoyed themselves. They learned a lot more than they expected and got a lot more out of the festival than expected,” said Wen, adding the students cheered when they heard they had won the awards and some even cried.
“They’re a great bunch of kids to work with. I’m really proud of their achievement,” said Wen, adding they couldn’t have done it without the support of the community.