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The art of music at CCCS

Program Spotlight: The Choristers

Established in partnership with Christ Church Cathedral, the Chorister Program offers a fully immersive musical training to children from grades 3 to grade 8. This auditioned ensemble is the only school-based, co-educational Cathedral choral program of its type in Canada and offers a unique opportunity for children to be part of the great, centuries-old tradition of Cathedral choral music. The Choristers train together in a highly supportive environment where team work, excellence and the joy of music-making are cultivated. Each Chorister is awarded a bursary toward their school fees and receives subsidized tuition in piano and musicianship. In addition, as part of the semi-professional Cathedral Choir, the Choristers sing services at the Cathedral, perform with world-class musicians in special concerts and have the opportunity to tour overseas. Our most recent tour to the UK included a residency at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, along with sung services at Westminster Abbey, London, and St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.  The Chorister program is sustained through the dedicated commitment of parents, the Cathedral and School, and the generous philanthropic support of friends in the wider community, including the Victoria Foundation, the St. Cecilia Fund and the Anglican Foundation of Canada. 

 

Could your child be a Cathedral Chorister? Experience is not necessary or expected; we are simply looking for musical potential. For an exploratory conversation about the program, please contact Mr. Donald Hunt, Director of Music, at Christ Church Cathedral. 

 

You can find out more about the Chorister program here; and about Christ Church Cathedral’s vibrant music program here

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Music 
Our Music program is an essential component of a Cathedral School education, providing students with a rich and diverse musical experience. In Kindergarten and through the intermediate years, children actively engage in weekly choir sessions, fostering their love for singing. 

As students progress through the intermediate years, they delve into the world of string instruments, learning to play either the violin or the cello. This instrumental exploration in grades four and five also provides the option for students to join our esteemed String Ensemble, where their newfound skills harmonize with those of their fellow musicians.

In the middle years, an exciting array of musical choices awaits our students. All are encouraged to join the CCCS Band, where they can unlock their potential as instrumentalists. Additionally, those with a passion for jazz can volunteer for the CCCS Jazz Band, showcasing their talent in this vibrant and dynamic ensemble. Finally, there is the Senior Choir open to grades four to eight students, with its eclectic repertoire of songs. With such an abundance of musical options, our students have the freedom to pursue their musical passions and discover their unique artistic voices.

At Cathedral School, we firmly believe that a robust Music program not only cultivates musical proficiency but also instills discipline, teamwork, and a lifelong appreciation for the arts. Through the power of music, our students embark on a transformative journey, fostering creativity, self-expression, and a deep sense of community.


The focuses of our amazing and diverse music program are:

UkuleleStrings  |  Middle School Concert Band Program

Find out more about each below.

Ukulele
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Ukulele

Discover musical magic at Cathedral School! Our Grade 2 and 3 students are making waves in the world of ukulele music. Led by our skilled music teacher, they're on an exciting journey to become musical maestros.
 

Through dynamic lessons, these young talents strum, sing, and play a diverse range of upbeat tunes spanning generations and genres. Beyond playing, they gain a deep grasp of music theory, unravelling the intricacies of this art. Melody, rhythm, harmony, form, and style are all mastered while having a blast.
 

The classroom buzzes with energy as students collaborate, creating ukulele magic. The ukulele's simplicity fosters teamwork, extending well beyond school. Plus, this experience instills a lifelong love for music. Drop by Cathedral School to hear our budding ukulele virtuosos – it's a truly special program where learning and fun intertwine.

Strings
Strings at CCCS
Strings

Hold on to your seats, music lovers, because we have some exciting news! The new strings program introduced to Grades 4 and 5 in 2022/23 has taken off significantly, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! We poured our heart and soul into making this program a reality, and it’s paying off significantly.

Let’s talk numbers. We have a total of 47 budding musicians in Grades 4 and 5, with 22 talented violinists and 25 gifted cellists. And if that doesn’t get your pulse racing, wait until you hear about their first ‘mini’ concert on St. Patrick’s Day! The students took to the school auditorium stage and wowed the audience with their musical skills, leaving parents and teachers alike spellbound. The pride in their accomplishments was palpable, and many of them clamoured for more opportunities to play and perform together.

And boy, did we deliver! What started as a few students staying in at lunchtime for extra help and practice has turned into a full-fledged chamber orchestra with 26 members, including students from Grades 1 to 7! This ensemble meets twice weekly on Wednesdays and Fridays and shows incredible potential. We’re even dreaming of the day when this group could become a musical force to be reckoned with, similar to our elite Chorister program. Collaborating with the senior choir and choristers and even entering into the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival as a chamber orchestra as early as next year is not beyond the realm of possibility.

But wait, there’s more! We’ve already received interest from some of our Grade 5 students and their parents about continuing their musical journey in Grade 6. And we’re happy to say that we are available in the timetable to offer a string class as part of the middle school exploratory program. These students will get four class sessions out of six and two lunchtime rehearsals with the CCCS String Ensemble. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to continue to develop their musical talents and passion.

We are over the moon with the success of the new strings program, and we can’t wait to see where it takes our talented young musicians next!

Band
band performance at the Cathedral
Middle School Concert Band Program

The Grade 6-8 Concert band program at CCCS provides an exciting opportunity for students to learn an instrument and play music alongside their peers in a large ensemble. Starting in Grade 6, the students choose instruments and begin working together as a group on the fundamentals of music and the basics of their new instruments. By Grade 8, the students will be performing challenging music, exploring pieces from cultures throughout the world as well as landmark pieces from the jazz and classical traditions and more familiar movie and pop/rock music themes. The Concert Bands rehearse two times each week, developing music reading skills, melodic and rhythmic conceptions, dynamics, tuning and other important music fundamentals in the context of the pieces they are working on.

Students also have the chance to join the CCCS Jazz Ensemble, meeting once a week outside of school hours to learn the art of improvisation in the context of the jazz tradition from one of Canada’s top jazz musicians. The Concert and Jazz bands perform at public events throughout the year to help foster the important link between community and music. Led by Juno-nominated saxophonist Ryan Oliver, the bands focus on teamwork, dedication, perseverance, and, most importantly, fun through music!

Meet our Music Teachers

Kathy Erickson

Meet Kathy, our amazing music specialist and choir director at CCCS. She has been teaching music to our primary students since 2008 and loves sharing her passion and expertise with them. Kathy has a music degree and a background in cello and piano from the prestigious Royal College of Music in London, England.

Before joining CCCS, Kathy ran her children’s music school in Nanaimo for fifteen years, where she helped hundreds of kids discover the joy of music. She also played as the assistant principal cellist in the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra for nine years and created educational materials for their Children’s Education Concert Series for five years. Kathy is a talented and dedicated music educator who inspires our students daily.

Ryan Oliver

Ryan Oliver is a Juno-nominated saxophonist and music educator who has performed and taught worldwide. He has appeared as a clinician and adjudicator for numerous music festivals, including the West Coast Jazz Festival and the BC Music Educators Association. Ryan worked professionally as a saxophonist for over 20 years in Toronto and New York City before returning to the West Coast. He has toured throughout the world with the legendary Canadian jazz group the Shuffle Demons and has been featured on CBC and JazzFM. He was a nominee for the Prix De Jazz Award at the Montreal Jazz Festival and for the 2022 Western Canadian Music Awards Jazz Musician of the Year. Ryan holds a Masters Degree in Music from Rutgers University and is delighted to be a faculty member at CCCS and to have the opportunity to encourage his students to have fun making music.

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