Local students up to musical challenge

March 17, 2024

The Canadian Music Class Challenge is the CBC’s salute to music education, so naturally educators and students from Canada’s Musical Coast had to get involved!

Every year music instructors and students choose a Canadian song from a shortlist and record their best version of it. Thousands of students from every part of Canada, including at least two Inverness County schools, took part this time around.

There was something for every taste on a list that went from classics like Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild, trad tunes like Meunier, tu dors, right up to the present day with Drake’s autotuned bop Passionfruit.

Students at Whycocomagh Education Centre recorded a rousing cover of Charlotte Diamond’s 1985 hit I am a pizza. Around 40 youngsters took part, and you can see how much fun they had learning and recording the tune, which tells the story of an unfortunate pizza who goes SPLAT in the box before it has the chance to be eaten.\

“It only took us 3 days to learn the song, with Mr. MacInnis,” says Nolan Walkins (Grade 3), “then on the day Ms. Campbell was there as well to film us.”

“When we were on the stage getting ready to film the performance, I was nervous at first,” says Nolan, “because we were going to be in a video that lots of people would see on the internet. But once we got started, it was fun! The best part was getting to sing together with a lot of my friends.”

Nolan Walkins was one of those who took part. [quote from Nolan]

Bayview Education Centre got in on the action too. Penny Lou MacDonald is one of the grade 7 and 8 crew that regularly gets together at lunch to hang out and make music, from Celtic tunes to Snoop Dogg beats or, in this case, a version of Call me maybe by BC’s pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen.

Penny Lou says it took the band about three weeks to learn the song. The filming process took a little longer, making sure that everyone got it right in each take. “The funnest thing was when we would mess up,” she says. “We would all start laughing and get goofy when we made mistakes!”

“I would definitely do it again and I’d tell other students to do it too,” she adds. “We had a blast!”

Props go out to Peter MacInnis, the music educator who helped to get these two groups rocking.

“Our music class is all about the joy of creating music, and I wanted to capture that infectious vibe,” he says. “We’ve got some seriously talented young musicians in both schools, and I’m always on the hunt for exciting opportunities to let their talent shine. Whether it’s during lunch breaks or after school, our bands are dedicated to perfecting their craft. Plus, it’s always fun, and I can’t wait for everyone to see what’s next. Currently, we’re working on original songs and a live set.”

So watch this space! If any other schools took part, get in touch and we’ll share your videos too.