Music is all around us throughout each day of our lives, and it is a basic expression of human culture. By giving each Priory student the opportunity to perform, create and listen to music, we give them a new voice in which they can choose to express who they are in a diverse, global society.
Music at The Priory is taught by Music teacher, Mrs. M.C. Campbell, which begins in Kindergarten and continues to be an integral part of school life through Grade 6. From the battery of tuned and un-tuned Orff instruments employed in Grades 1 and 2 to the much anticipated recorder studies in Grades 3 and 4 and the Band Program in Grades 5 and 6, the students look forward to new instruments and the unique skills they develop at every step of their musical journey. At every stage, students sing and use the instrument that is inside each one of them.
Priory students watch a performance of “Peter and the Wolf”
On Tuesday, January 29th, students in Grades 3-6 had the opportunity to travel downtown to Place-des-Arts to attend a concert in the beautiful Maison Symphonique. We were treated to a performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, as part of their Youth Education Series. The students were introduced to the notion of story-telling through music, and heard many examples of well-known classical works. They clearly recognized how certain instruments can represent a particular character, and how different musical styles are used to convey a certain mood. And as a special bonus, we were greeted by Mr. Marc Beliveau, one of the orchestra’s violinists, and uncle of Grade 3 student Lucas Battah. It was a memorable and enriching experience.
The month of September brings much excitement and enthusiasm as students and faculty prepare for an abundance of learning opportunities and rewards that come with a new school year. This is especially true for our fifth and sixth grade students who receive their band instrument of choice: clarinet, flute, trombone and trumpet. In preparation for this year’s Band program, our music teacher, Mrs. Campbell, organized band clinics where professional musicians worked with and inspired our budding young musicians.
An Outing to Vista
The Kindergarten class, along with the Priory Choir, participated in a community service outing to VISTA Seniors Residence in honour of Mother’s Day, where former Priory Principal Ms. McConnon is a resident. The students sang songs and shared cookies with their appreciative audience creating happy memories for everyone!
environmusical party at The Priory
Following a creative musical workshop that had students in Grades 2 and 3 transform recycled materials such as cardboard boxes, milk cartons, tin cans, and plastic bottles into drums, shakers, rainsticks and moose horns, the entire school joined ‘CréaSon’ and musician Sylvain Grenier for an environmusical party where Priory students helped improvise and create a fun musical piece from their created masterpieces. Teachers were also invited to join in the band while playing musical instruments made from recycled materials. There were smiles all around and the music smiled as well as students danced hand in hand around the Paré Howlett Hall! Thank you to our Music teacher Mrs. Campbell for providing opportunities for our budding creators to express themselves in their own unique way.
DISCOVERING THE OSM
Priory students from Grades 3-6 had a chance to travel to Place-des-Arts for a concert inside the beautiful Maison Symphonique. This year’s performance was titled “Discover the OSM” and was hosted by Quebec comedian Patrice Belanger. The children were introduced to each instrument family in the Orchestra, and were guided through a discovery of some of the “invisible” elements of a Symphony, from “tempo” and “dynamics” to “timbre” and “pitch”. They also had a chance to see the OSM’s newly acquired “Octobasse”, a rare instrument which is almost 12 feet tall! We listened to exciting classical pieces by Beethoven, Grieg, Mussorsky, and even participated in an interactive body percussion choreography to an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. But everybody’s favourite piece was the grand finale of John William’s “Theme from Star Wars”. The children’s smiles were out of this world as we listened to this dramatic, familiar tune, played by a live symphony orchestra, right in front of us! It was a wonderful experience, thoroughly enjoyed by everyone who attended.
Priory Participation in the Quebec Honour Band
Six Priory students attended the annual Quebec Provincial Honour Band this past weekend, and it was a huge success. Mason Winter, Josef Mejstrik, Dempsey Hill, Leah Boyd, Olivia Darlington, and Marilena Sahlas-Roy were all selected to participate this year, and they spent their day Saturday with over 150 music students from across Quebec practicing their band instruments with professional musicians and putting on an outstanding concert performance in the evening. The event is hosted at Vanier College each year by the Quebec Band Association and provides students a motivating and enriching experience to become more proficient on their chosen band instrument. This year’s Priory representation was fantastic as the students challenged themselves to learn high school level repertoire and perform in a concert for a large audience of over 400 members – well done!
Creative Music Making at the OSM
Priory students from Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 travel to Place-des-Arts to attend an engaging and interactive performance by the TorQ Percussion Quartet and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, with conductor Adam Johnson and narrator Patrice Bélanger. Using a collection of everyday objects (garbage bins, kitchen utensils, and even toys!) the master percussionists transform them into an orchestra of musical instruments. The performance explored how music can be made anywhere with anything. For a deepening experience, Priory students had the opportunity to participate in the performance using body clapping and vocal percussion, encouraging students to explore a world of sounds, and to appreciate that there are endless possibilities of creative music making!
A Musical Journey Around the World
On Tuesday, April 25th, Priory students from Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 attended a special concert at the Jeunesses Musicales Concert Hall in Montreal. We were taken on a musical journey around the world as performers Bruno and Martin introduced students to percussion instruments from many different countries. The children were invited to participate in several “call and response” songs, and also to clap along to many of the drum beats. Everyone enjoyed this engaging and interactive performance, and there were smiles and laughter throughout.
Priory Students Perform in the Quebec Honour Band
Under the direction of renowned conductors, Mr. Rowan Fitzgerald and Mr. Alain Cazes, five Priory students performed in the 100-member Quebec Honour Band on Saturday, February 11th. This exciting event gave students the opportunity to develop performing techniques and perform challenging repertoires with band enthusiasts from all over Quebec. A special thank you to music teacher MC Campbell for her dedication, and a hearty congratulations to Isabella Cecere, Alexandra Gagnon, Desmond Lafontant, Oliver Lin and Adrian Sandu on their outstanding performance. Bravo!
A CAUSE WORTH SINGING ABOUT
The Priory Choir once again continued their tradition of supporting the annual Christmas and Hanukkah Toy Tea held at Ogilvy Tudor Hall. This festive event sponsors women's shelters and provides toys to needy children all across Quebec. Much to the delight of parents, friends and guests, Priory students inspired the audience as they spread some holiday cheer! CTV News was there to capture the event – watch the coverage here.
The Power of Music
It was a very special event that brought together families from The Priory School, École Bilingue Notre-Dame de Sion and Sacred Heart School of Montreal. During a rainy evening on Thursday, October 20, many hearts were warmed as they listened to the choirs from both elementary schools sing along with the band from Sacred Heart in the beautiful surroundings of the Chapel of Sacred Heart. It was a pleasure to see Mrs. Campbell, music teacher at The Priory, “take up the baton”, and lead the combined forces during one of their last pieces of the evening. The souls of the enthusiastic audience surely benefited from the power of the music and children’s voices, but this Benefit Concert also provided a different kind of good. All of the ticket sales went towards the Bursary Programs of The Priory School and Notre-Dame de Sion and to the Capital Campaign for Sacred Heart School. Thank you, kids, for the music!
Sharing the Gifts of Song
On a beautiful, warm May morning the Kindergarten students traveled to VISTA Senior's Residence for their annual visit to share the gifts of song and spring flowers in celebration of Mother's Day and the coming of the spring season. This year, they were joined by the Grade 6 students who also performed, showcasing their flute, clarinet and trumpet skills. Their earnest enthusiasm and smiling faces brought such happiness to the residents, as well as fond memories to former Priory principal, and VISTA resident, Teresa McConnon. Not only did the children work hard to practice and prepare for their performance, they were keen to learn about life for the seniors in their community while enjoying their tour of the facilities. A true joining of the generations!
The Priory Choiry Brings Joy to Audiences of all Ages
On Wednesday, May 14, The Priory Choiry went "on tour" to sing two separate performances at the Greene Center. Their first stop was to sing a few songs to the boys and girls at the Greene Center Daycare. The Choiry did an amazing job singing for the kids, helping them with actions and words, and by the end the little tykes were literally dancing on the tables. The Choiry proved their versatility with their next performance downstairs for the last Greene Center Seniors Luncheon of the season. With different song selections and beautiful voices, they gave much joy and happiness to all the seniors in attendance. We're proud of you, Choiry!
Experiencing the MSO
Have you ever heard stories about the witch Baba-Yaga, the Firebird, or the courageous Prince Ivan? These mythical characters of Russian legends came to life on Thursday, April 10th, as Priory students from Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 traveled to the Maison Symphonique to listen and watch the Montreal Symphony Orchestra performing 'Russian Legends'. As students were captivated by the folktale involving the struggle between good and evil, they enjoyed works from Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Stravinsky. Conducted by Dina Gilbert, instruments were used to set the tone of each scene. The audience was required to choose musical scores that represented the mood of several unspoken scenes to truly understand how music is used to convey emotions and tell stories. The musical experience allowed our students to develop an appreciation for the symphony, Russian folktales and the art of conducting an orchestra.