Music at Brentwood: All the Right Notes

Thursday, December 06, 2018 - By: Ben S, Rogers ‘19; Photo by Stephanie Meade

The music program at Brentwood provides many options for students to try out different instruments and perform in different ensembles. 

Music at Brentwood is one of the largest parts of the Arts programme and the largest part of the Performing Arts programme. With eight music options, you can choose from Wind Ensemble, String Ensemble, Choir, Jazz Band, Beginner and Advanced Rock Bands, Guitar Ensemble, and Composition. At the beginning of the year students may also audition for a part of the Brentwood musical - this year it’s West Side Story that is open to public viewing in early March.

Our three music teachers are Mr Newns, Mr Clausen and Mr McGill. Some of our Residential Faculty Advisors (RFAs) like Mr Rodrigues and Ms Als also help students to better understand the music we are learning. Maria R, our Assistant Head Prefect for the Arts said “Our teacher, Mr. Clausen, has worked to support our String Ensemble, and help us as musicians to better our sound. In Strings he assisted me in auditioning for Musicfest Canada and BCMEA, both of which I was accepted into. Without his guidance I would not have been able to achieve these opportunities.”  

Musicians at Brentwood often find themselves playing in concerts, whether it’s at MusicFest, The National Music Festival in Toronto or on the Killy Stage such as in the “Concert For A Winter’s Eve” where everyone in the music program will have to opportunity to perform. Singers can either audition and be in our two formal concerts, or they may sing at our open mic nights. 

“The Jazz Band at Brentwood is fantastic because it allows creativity to reign supreme. It allows the people playing to not only read notes on a page, but also to improvise and improve on things by creating their own rhythms and maybe even a new group” said Samuel S. 

Brentwood also manages private lessons with various teachers that offer the opportunity to learn any instrument you desire. Currently over 60 students are taking private lessons. 

Having studied music for 10 years (four at Brentwood) I can attest that the music program here is second to none. I recently got the opportunity to play with professional musicians at our annual Thanksgiving Concert; that was amazing because I got to learn things that I wouldn’t have been able to from most other schools. 

Some students even play in the pit orchestra in the musical: “The opportunity to play for the school’s annual musical was incredible. I was able to experience what it was like to work in an orchestra pit almost all of which was professional. It was also interesting to perform in a musical, as it was a first for me. I am very grateful for the experience, as it showed me another side of performing music” said Maria R. 

Old Brentonians have gone on to do great things in music. For example, Clifton Murray of The Tenors spent his high school career at Brentwood. Perhaps the next Clifton Murray will be on stage tonight and Friday at the Concert for A Winter’s Eve. Come and see for yourself.

Ben S, Rogers ‘19

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