Skeena Middle School band director Susan Brouwer orchestrates the Skeena Jazz Band during the 25th annual band telethon on March 3. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Band telethon raises more than $2,000 for school music programs

Annual fundraiser celebrated 25-year milestone March 3

The 25th annual Terrace and Thornhill school band telethon raised around $2,300 this year.

Organized by the Terrace and Thornhill Parents for Music Society, the telethon fundraises for local school band and music programs and travel.

Musicians from the Skeena Middle School jazz and concert bands and the Caledonia Secondary School jazz and concert bands and choir showcased their talents in a three-hour performance at the REM Lee Theatre on March 3. It was also telecast by CityWest.

Last year, the telethon raised over $10,000 with community grants for school band trips.

Performances included an acapella take on ‘Africa’ from the Caledonia choir and a jazzy cover of ‘Dean’s World’ from the Skeena Middle School jazz band.

“[Music] is something you can do for your whole life,” says Susan Brouwer, Skeena Middle School music director. “Some kids may be involved in other things outside of school, but this is a really special place for them.”

READ MORE: Band telethon being broadcast in Terrace, B.C.

Seeing students grow both in their confidence and musical abilities over the years is amazing, she says. Opportunities to travel and perform in places around Canada and even the United States can also be rewarding for students.

“It’s an incredible experience for the kids to travel with their peers and to go share their music with other communities,” Brouwer says.

Grade 12 Caledonia student Brenden Vander Ploeg has played the clarinet for years, and says he often turns to music to relax and focus.

“When I’m doing homework I listen to music, whenever I’m stressed I listen to music,” he says. “Music is probably one of the greatest things that has kept me going.”

Skeena Middle School student and trumpet player Irma Schooner says she became interested in band after learning about her family’s own musical history.

“It was a bit scary [at first] because we have a reputation with it, but then Ms. Brouwer came and it was fun after that,” Schooner says.

The money raised will be used to help finance the Skeena Middle School’s band trip to Music Fest Canada Nationals in 2020, and Caledonia’s band trip to Seattle this spring, among other performances.

READ MORE: Bands golden at MusicFest

The telethon ended around 7 p.m. Sunday but donations are still being accepted either at the Skeena or Caledonia schools, or by calling 250-635-9777.

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Skeena Jazz Band student drummer holds the cymbal to end one of the band’s performances at the REM Lee Theatre March 3. (Brittany Gervais photo)

The Caledonia Choir gave noteworthy acapella performances during the 25th annual band telethon fundraiser. (Brittany Gervais photo)

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