Cal’s band program is now one semester

CALEDONIA Senior Secondary School is offering just one semester of band this year because of a low number of band students.

CALEDONIA Senior Secondary School is offering just one semester of band this year because of a low number of band students.

Principal Cam MacKay said students will receive the same amount of instructional hours as a full-year program but offered in a shorter period of time.

Calling is a simple numbers game, MacKay explained it’s tough to run small classes because it puts pressure on other classes within the same teaching block that will then have more students.

“When one teacher gets a block of 18 kids, and then the other teacher will get a block of 32… that’s hard to do,” he explained.

“It’s trying to be fair across the board and keep this program going,” MacKay said.

He said two years ago band was run the same way.

“It’s always been a numbers based thing, this year is a bit more of a crunch,” MacKay said.

Limiting band to one semester means the program will run outside of normal school hours next year  so  students can still take part in spring music festivals and the annual band trip.

“Personally, I like it better when it’s going full year,” MacKay said.

Caledonia band teacher Jeff Parr said the situation is not new and everyone, including students,  does what they can with the situation in which they are placed.

“The idea is whatever you get,  you have to make it work,” said Parr, who has been teaching band for more than 20 years.

A full year band program means students would alternate with another course within that instructional block.

Under the one semester format, students end up taking band every day for half a year.

“It works; they just progress faster,” Parr said.

But he noted difficulties can arise in the second semester when practices will become extracurricular.

“Because then you’re only going to get the committed students to continued the next semester for music festival and tour,” Parr said.

Next year, Grade 10 will shift from Skeena Junior and Thornhill Junior to Caledonia, adding another grade, more students and another dimension to its timetable programming that’s now in place for Grade 11 and Grade 12 students.