Music Monday united hundreds of Brandon School Division students with others across Canada celebrating their music programs yesterday.
Following April’s Music Month in Manitoba, Monday marked the 10th annual Music Monday, a national event dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of music education.
This year, nearly 90 schools from across Manitoba, including Brandon’s Meadows, Valleyview, Earl Oxford, Crocus Plains Regional Secondary and École Harrison schools, registered their Music Monday events.
Meadows School students dressed up and moved rhythmically to a collection of musical pieces, and a choir of nearly 80 Grade 3 and 4 students, lead by their guitar-playing music teacher Christine Penner, sang for their peers.
Penner said that although music programs in Manitoba are still ongoing, that’s not the case in all schools across Canada, despite the importance of music education at an early age.
"It’s really perfect for elementary students because it fits drama and movement and creating of songs and singing of songs," Penner said. "There are kids that just can’t wait till they can do some of those creative things, get out of their desks during the day and come and do some of that."
Penner said music has played an important role in her life since she was a young girl.
"When I had music, something turned on and it hit the spot for me and there’s so many kids that I see like that when they come to class, they sparkle."
Penner has taught music at Meadows for nearly 12 years and said one of the biggest changes has been the school’s growing number of EAL students. Penner said they now incorporate more African drumming and Latin salsa music in their lessons, a change from years before.
"The cultural thing has been kind of neat to add," she said.
Launched in 2005, Music Monday has become the world’s largest annual event dedicated to raising awareness for music education. This year’s event concluded with a synchronized countrywide performance of "Is Somebody Singing" with former Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, led by maestro Bramwell Tovey of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The live webcast, synchronizing musical events across the country, can be accessed online at musicmonday.ca.
Music Monday is put on annually by the Coalition for Music Education, an organization made up of parents, students and educators who support school music programs and highlight their importance for young people across Canada.
Other western Manitoba communities that participated in the musical event this year included Boissevain, Dauphin, Forrest, Neepawa, Reston, Russell, Shilo, Souris and Wawanesa.
Penner said it’s important to grab students’ attention at an early age so they continue to let music be a part of their lives.
"The kids do go home and they’re all excited about music," she said. "Hopefully they’re sparked enough to keep growing."