By Justin Seward
The Irvine Band Program is back in session after a four year hiatus from the school with a partnership between the Prairie Rose School Division and Medicine Hat College.
Mark Ward is the brass instructor at Medicine Hat College and orchestrates the class of 18 at Irvine School that started at the beginning of February.
“It’s really exciting,” said Ward.
“I’m enjoying it a great deal. It’s a good mix of students from Grade 5 to 9 and we meet twice a week during their lunch time for about 40 minutes, and so far we’ve got underway. They’ve picked all their instruments and learning how to play them.”
Instruments include trumpets, clarinets, flutes and trombones.
The band players are now working towards the annual Kaleidoscope of the Arts performance at the Esplanade in June, where they will get the opportunity to participate in music, drama, art, multimedia and dance.
“They bring students to meet there and perform,” said Ward
“We’re hopefully going to have students from Irvine and Seven Persons as well. Seven Persons has had a band program for awhile and hopefully collaborate with them and Parkside as well and perform at that festival.”
Irvine School Principal Carol Carlson said the school is “very blessed to have the opportunity to bring Mark in our school. He has a wealth of experience and as a retired teacher, he has taught many children (and) many different types of instruments.
“At this point in time our kids are feeling very excited, and there’s a lot of energy around the new band program,” she said.
“Our community is very excited too obviously without having a band here for the last four years. It’s been kind of a gap that we feel we’d like to be able to have back in place. But the expertise of band a leader is sometimes a difficult commodity to find.”
The reason for not having a band teacher was because it was a challenge to find a suitable candidate to replace the outgoing person as a staff member.
‘Ward said there will be a possibility of starting a band program at Eagle Butte High School and Parkside School.