By Adam MacDonald
Fernie Secondary School (FSS) students had the opportunity to expand their musical knowledge this past weekend as they joined other students from across the country at the annual Canadian Rocky Mountain Music Festival in Banff. A mix of students, ranging from Grades seven to 11, from Fernie Secondary’s various band groups and choir, made the trip to Banff with the purpose of listening to other Canadian high school bands and choirs.
“I was impressed with how talented the kids were, and with the diversity of the kids that were involved,” said Lori Mitchell, a chaperone on the trip.
The festival hosted groups from as far away as Winnipeg and Vancouver, and included both vocal and band groups performing concert and jazz music. Students also attended evening concerts put on by professional music groups, including Vertical Voices and the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble.
“The festival is one that I’ve grown up going to,” said FSS band teacher David Pasivirta. “My high school teacher founded the festival. He was the one who inspired me to become a music teacher. One of my favourite things was hearing and answering the questions the students had, and seeing their perspectives change over the course of a weekend.”
“My favourite part was listening to the choir,” said Grade seven student, Connor Birch, “and I learned about different kinds of instruments — the contrabass was epic!”
Pasivirta hopes that Fernie students will also be able to perform in the festival in the future as the FSS music program becomes more established.