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Band music tradition continues after COVID

The Good Spirit School Division band, including student/musicians from Canora, Invermay, Norquay, Preeceville and Sturgis, hosted its annual awards concert at the Sturgis Composite High School on June 8.

The Good Spirit School Division band hosted its annual awards concert at the Sturgis Composite High School on June 8, featuring music steeped in tradition.

Nathan Seghers, band instructor, instructed the beginner, grades 7 to 8 and senior divisions through various musical selections during the evening. Seghers spoke briefly on the highlights and accomplishments throughout the year.

“We had quite a band year for 2021-2022,” said Seghers. “In 2020/21, we were unable to gather together for band rehearsals so when we received the green light in September 2021 to return to nearly normal, we were all very excited. We started the year off only distancing two metres apart, which allowed us to fit in our band room quite comfortably. As our year continued we ran into more obstacles. We were required to extend our distance to three metres, which meant we could no longer all fit in the band room. Thanks to principals at each school, we were able to practice in the gymnasiums. Early in 2022, we were unable to meet together anymore, and we rehearsed in our separate schools for nearly six weeks. In March, we were able to rehearse together once again.”

“The students have done an amazing job at meeting all guidelines that were given to them. We were able to go on band trips, with both the Grade 7/8 band and senior band students travelling to Regina on separate trips in late May,” said Seghers.

“Overall, the musicianship of the students continues to increase as time goes on, which is a testament to all of the hard work they put into their instruments. I am always amazed at how much students can improve with just a short time of practice. Thank you to everyone who supports our band program. Many individuals and businesses donate items or their time to help improve our program. We could not be doing the great things we are doing without the community’s support. It does not go un-noticed,” he concluded.

The program kicked off with the beginner band performing a demonstration piece that depicted the journey that beginner students have gone through this year, and selections titled, Wings to the Mind and Samba la Bamba.

The grade 7/8 band performed Down by the Salley Gardens and In the Court of the King.

The senior band performed, I Want it that Way, The Rowan Tree and Tu Ungone.

The awards acknowledged students in the beginner, grade 7/8 and senior band divisions.

In the beginner category, Grade 5 category, Abby Scheller of Preeceville received the award for Most Improved Musician. Kaylee Auchstaetter of Norquay received the Peter Olineck Award for Best First-Year Band Student and Gavin Erickson of Preeceville received the Canora Credit Union Sturgis Branch award for Most Promising Musician Beginner Band.

In the Grade 6 category, Amrie Seerey and Chloe Jansen, both of Sturgis, received the Grade 6 Most Improved Musician award. Jasmin Kowalyshyn of Invermay received the Most Outstanding band student award and Maggie Ivanochko of Preeceville received the Most Promising Musician band award.

In the Grade 7 band category, Reese Reine of Norquay received the Most Improved Musician; Brody Nelson of Norquay, the Most Outstanding Musician, and Olivia Ivanochko of Preeceville, the Most Promising Musician award.

In the Grade 8 band category, Franz Pinaorc of Preeceville received the Most Improved Musician award; Maggie Bartel of Preeceville, the Most Outstanding Musician award, and Cheyenne Peterson of Sturgis, the Most Promising Musician award.

In the senior category, Paje Reynolds of Preeceville and Anna Hort of Canora received the Norquay Senior Band Award for Most Improved Musician. Emily Kosturbash of Invermay received the Sturgis Senior Band Award for congeniality. Emerson Strykowski of Preeceville received the Jerry Lisitza Overall Musicianship Award. Jack Craig of Canora received the Preeceville Senior Band Award Most Outstanding Musician. Bella Mykytyshyn of Canora received the Royal Canadian Legion Preeceville Branch Most Outstanding Musicianship. Isaiah Maier of Preeceville received the J.D. Trophies Musicianship Award, and Aidyn Kaytor of Canora received Town of Sturgis Most Promising Musician.

Graduates who were recognized and received special farewell gifts were: Bella Mykytyshyn of Canora, Cheyenne Fediuk of Canora, Mya Wolos of Canora, Alexa Burym of Canora, Alexa Olson of Norquay and Jillian Newton of Preeceville.