Lorna Bjorklund and the Journey Concert Band Programme
The story of the concert band programme at Journey Middle School in Sooke begins with Lorna Bjorklund (see New Faces), and it hasn’t ended yet.
When Lorna (left) moved to Sooke – to a family property near the Potholes – in 2007, she decided to list herself as a “TOC” (substitute teacher) for the schools in Sooke. However, there was no music performance programme in the schools in Sooke (there is a general music programme), and as music is her specialty, there was no work for her here.
In 2008 however, an extremely part time position at Journey – two fifty-minute periods per week- came up, and there was no time during the ordinary school day for music classes. Nothing daunted, Lorna took the job and began a concert band programme for Grade 6 students, first before school (at 7:30 am) and then on Saturday mornings from 9:30 to 12:00, at what she called “Band Camp.” Students loved it, parents were supportive, and soon Norman got involved, along with Alison Crone (flute), Donald Stewart (percussion), David Watson (horn), Janette Chrysler (cello), Chris Leeson, and Bob Whittet.
(Picture below of Alison Crone teaching flute)
At the end of last year (Spring 2009), the students’ final concert pulled in an audience of over 200. Band Camp tutors played along with the students, who at that point numbered 26. It was a huge success.
Lorna put in a proposal to the Sooke School Board for a full-time music teacher for this fall—and again got part time, this time for a .2 position, which comes to one day a week. At the end of this past summer she had 71 aspiring young musicians, which has meanwhile grown to 92, far too many beginners for one teacher working one day.
Journey has been supportive, and some Grade 6 teachers have been willing to change their schedules to accommodate the growing music programme. Grade 6 students are renting instruments. Returning Grade 7 students have started rehearsals. Parents are very supportive, and the young people are delighted. The Saturday “Band Camp” is due to resume shortly.
Lorna says she has received fantastic support and cooperation. “There are so many cogs in the wheel that it ends up being an enormous group effort. Every person’s role is extremely important. This community is terrific”
As we said, this story is just beginning. Music at Journey Middle School! Musicians and teachers will tell you that middle school is the time to get kids started, and they will also tell you that the kids love it. Remember the Mozart effect? Besides opening up the vast, complex world of musical sound, music develops brain power, and we can all use some of that.
Who would say no to music in the schools? No one, if Lorna Bjorklund has anything to do with it.