The AcousChicks from Brentwood College School had a winning season in 2021. (Submitted)

The AcousChicks from Brentwood College School had a winning season in 2021. (Submitted)

Brentwood picks up national music honours in spite of pandemic

“It’s not easy running choirs and bands in the middle of a pandemic”

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its restrictions, the Brentwood College music program has come out of the 2021 season with a number of national honours for its bands and choirs.

“It’s not easy running choirs and bands in the middle of a pandemic, but somehow even with masking, cohorts and physical distancing from one another, somehow, we have managed to keep going despite these obstacles, resulting in much success for our efforts,” said Head of Music Phil Newns in a press release.

The school’s bands and choirs entered a number of festivals virtually this year, recording performances on film.

“In a ‘normal year’, we would have packed our bags and our instruments and travelled to sometimes far away destinations to participate in these festivals in person,” Newns said. “The camaraderie fostered on these school band and choir trips has been sadly missed, but that didn’t stop us from putting our best foot forward.”

AcousChicks won an Adjudicators Choice Award for Senior Vocal Jazz Ensemble at the Victoria Festival for the Performing Arts. The Jazz Band and Intermediate Rock Band won a place in the Highlights Concert.

Next up was the West Coast Choir Festival where the Pitches Vocal Ensemble received a silver rating and the AcousChicks received gold. Then it was onto the West Coast Jazz Festival where the Jazz Band, AcouChicks, and all three of the rock bands received a gold.

Nine Brentwood’s ensembles had qualified in 2019 for the Nationals, Musicfest Canada back in 2019, so the school entered three of their ensembles this year. Pitches Vocal Ensemble received a gold, the Jazz Band a silver and the AcousChicks a silver.

In addition, three of members, Justin, Peju and Ally, also received National Honour Awards for their valued contributions to their ensembles.

“That makes it six golds and three silvers overall,” enthused Newns. “We are all thrilled with the results of our endeavors, and very proud of our ensembles accomplishments, but we can’t wait to sing and play without masks and be “normal” again. Mandy Bryant, Scott McGill and myself direct our ensembles, but we owe a special note of thanks to Mike Minckler for his professional filming expertise.”

If you would like to see some of these ensembles in action, Musicfest Canada will be live-streaming their performances on May the 24 and 26 at 2.30 p.m.

Phil Newns