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Stuck in the Middle: Everyone wants to be a Rock Star

Picture of Kal Russell
Stuck in the Middle: Everyone wants to be a Rock Star
by Kal Russell - Wednesday, 14 December 2016, 2:08 PM

Stuck in the Middle: Everyone wants to be a Rock Star

On December 7th, our band program held it’s annual Christmas Concert.  Our band director, Ms Sousa, does an amazing job.  We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to offer our students a great musical opportunity with our band program.  We know from research the important role music plays in cognitive development especially in terms of mathematics.  However, for many students band is good for more than just brain growth. 

Band is about being part of a group that strives to reach a common goal.  At NSMS you really are a part of a program that requires you to commit to growing as a person and as a musician.  It provides you with a supportive group of peers that will become your lifelong friends.   For many students band is the perfect program to help them get engaged and connected both academically and socially at school.   Ms. Sousa does an amazing job creating an extremely positive band culture at both North Saanich Middle School and Parkland Secondary.  

Our annual Winter Concert is one of the highlights of the year for band students.  It is the first time that parents and staff get to see their musical growth.  It is amazing to see how quickly the honks and squeaks of September practices turn into recognizable music in grade 6 and finely tuned performances in grades 7 and 8.   

This year all three bands played their sets in front of a packed gym.  As a special treat to the students and crowd the concert ended with a guest appearance from the Festive Brass Quartet; a professional band that plays nightly and Butchart Gardens over the Christmas season.

As many of you know as a young man my passion was athletics.  Most people know that many athletes secretly desire to be Rock Stars.  Of course I was no different.  All my energy went into baseball, hockey and basketball, but if the opportunity had presented itself I would have jumped at the chance to be on stage in front of roaring crowd at a concert.  

This year I got that opportunity.  The Festive Brass called me up to play with them.  Sure,  I was only playing the slapstick for the song ‘Sleigh Ride’, but I was still nervous stepping out on the big stage in front of a roaring crowd.  It may have been mildly roaring with laughter, but I was still on stage and part of the band.  

Immediately following the concert one of our grade 7 percussionists approached me and said, “Well done Mr. Russell.” 

I said, “Thanks, I thought I was early on one slap and late on another.”

“You were a little bit ‘rusty‘, but you did OK.”  he said as kindly as possible.  I am always appreciative of supportive constructive feedback.  

The next day at school I was still pumped-up about the concert.  Dozen of band kids approached me to comment on my playing and when I go back to my office, to my surprize, Mrs. Bugeaud and Mrs. Tamborino slapped down hundreds of papers for me to autograph. (I mean report cards to sign). 

Although my professional athletic career, and now my professional music career, may have been shorter than I would have wanted I did get the opportunity on a cold winter night in December to be on stage for one song in front of a packed audience and live the Rock Star dream!

Remember at North Saanich Middle School if you want to be a rock star it is never too late to join the band!

Rock on Hawks!

Festive Brass - Christmas Sampler including Sleigh Ride -