Hillcrest Elementary students have once again sung their way into a top-10 position in CBC’s Canadian Music Class Challenge.
Music teacher Brook Roberts and a large ensemble of Hillcrest students are finalists in the Elementary Vocal (Grades 4-6) category. Their entry, a music video cover of Sloan’s The Rest of My Life, filmed at Song Sparrow Hall.
The video plays off Sloan’s own video for the song (from their 2003 album Action Pact), both of which feature kids emulating the band.
“When you watch that Sloan video, it’s kids pretending to be Sloan, and I’m like, well, this is it!” Roberts explained about the process of selecting one of the songs schools had to choose from. “I like the band, I like the song, and that’s an instant tie in, and it becomes a cool engagement piece for kids too.
“You show them that – it’s an old video – but you explain what’s going on and everyone gets it. They’ve all pretended to be their favourite sports star or music star. So it totally just piggybacked on that idea and kind of blew it up into this concert setting.”
This isn’t the first time Roberts and Hillcrest have made it among the finalists in the music class challenge. Roberts said this was the first time he’s done a video with multiple grades. About 150 students from Grades 3 to 5 participate in the video, the majority providing backup vocals and dance moves on the dance floor.
Hillcrest is the only Interior B.C. school among the finalists in the Elementary Vocals (Grades 4-6) category, with much of the competition coming from large urban centres across the country.
“It’s nice to be included, it’s nice to know we have something special to offer that’s on par with all of these big centres…,” said Roberts.
Roberts is grateful to Craig Newnes and Song Sparrow Hall for allowing the school to film there, and helping them out with the process.
“Song Sparrow, that’s what made that video happen because it was in a venue that is a venue, it’s not a gym…,” said Roberts. “Lots of kids haven’t been to a concert anytime recently, especially with Covid, so going into that different venue and the way it sounds in there, it’s so acoustically pleasing and the sound we were getting off the stage was amazing. I had a blast. Craig just tuned it all up and it was like, here we go. It was a fun school project.”
Not long after choosing to do the Sloan song, Roberts learned the band had been booked by the Salmon Arm Folk Music Society to perform at Song Sparrow on March 5, 2023.
“That’s a message from the universe right there,” said Roberts.
Though the concert has sold out, Roberts hopes the school will be able to make some kind of connection with the band during their show.
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