R.S. McLaughlin CVI jazz band receives gold rating at MusicFest in Toronto.
By Sarah Racioppa
Students in Grades 9 to 12 in the jazz band at R. S. McLaughlin CVI (MCVI) achieved the highest honour in student-based ensemble at the 2018 MusicFest. In its 46th year, MusicFest took place at the University of Toronto from May 14 to May 19, in the form of a fun and educational music event.
"This rating is the highest ranking any student-based ensemble can achieve. You really can't go any further!" says Timothy Watson, Music Teacher at MCVI. The McLaughlin Jazz Band consists of 20 students and Watson, who is their conductor.
MusicFest is not a competition, although bands receive a rating based on the adjudicators' marking criteria.
On May 17 the McLaughlin Jazz Band performed in front of thousands of musicians, educators, and the public. They were awarded the gold level rating for their outstanding performance.
Watson says the students were very shocked and enthusiastic when they found out about their gold status. "Last year the group achieved a silver ranking. Therefore, they were extremely proud to know that they had improved so much!"
After their performance, students participated in a one-hour workshop with the University of Toronto's Jazz Faculty professors.
To get invited to MusicFest, the MCVI jazz band had to perform at the Southern Ontario Jazz Band Festival. It was held at O'Neill CVI back in February. At this qualifying event, they received a gold rating which led to the additional accolades of MusicFest.
As for what's next for the McLaughlin Jazz Band, Watson says a lot of the students are returning next year. "The plan is to keep building on their successes and to focus on playing even more difficult material at the same high standard."