Members of the NDDHS band are preparing to participate in the upcoming bank workshop on May 1 in Cornwall. This event is to encourage the professional feedback to these local school bands. Courtesy Photo

MAPLE RIDGE – Three Upper Canada District School Board secondary school bands will be participating in a band workshop and concert planned for May 1st at the Dev Hotel and Conference Centre (DHCC) in Cornwall.

In a press release dated April 15, it was announced that “approximately 120 students” from St. Lawrence Secondary School (SLSS) in Cornwall, Seaway District High School (SDHS) in Iroquois and North Dundas District High School (NDDHS) in North Dundas will be participating in the event.

Erin Richie from SLSS, Colleen Leslie from SDHS and Joel Exner from NDDHS have collaborated to create this opportunity for their students, after learning that the annual music festival in Cornwall would not be held this year.

“Playing for an audience and receiving professional feedback from an outside person is a big part of being in a band. So, when we learned that the Kinsmen Music Festival would not be happening this year, we thought it was important to find another way for these students to get this experience, without having to travel too far,” explained Ritchie.

The day will begin with the students arriving at the venue around 11 a.m., taking “part in leadership activities, mingle with band mates, and meeting musicians from other schools until lunchtime.  During the afternoon, the bands will be performing for a community adjudicator who will provide “feedback on their performance, and then musicians will move into instrument-based workshops.”

“These workshops are being led by professional musicians. Some are retired and present teachers with the UCDSB and others are community members. It’s important that students have the opportunity to work with others in the community and learn from them. I know that my music teacher had such an influence on my life,” explains Ritchie.

This will be followed by a time for practice, with a community concert scheduled for between 6:30 and 8 p.m., with no set admission price, but donations received will be provided to the House of Lazarus in Mountain and asylum seekers who are housed at the DHCC.

“We are very excited for this event. It will be the first of this kind of many of the students and, from what we’ve heard from the students, they are just as excited to have this opportunity,” explained Leslie.  She expressed for the support provided by community groups and businesses in the local area.