Minutes before the microphones and video feed went live, Rob Hogeveen walked over to the clarinet section and gave his musicians some last-minute instructions.
“You should be getting your reeds wet,” said the music teacher, glancing at his watch and then up at the large screens at the front of the room.
Hogeveen wasn’t taking any chances.
This may not have been the first music recital his Grade 7 students at Lloyd George elementary had performed in, but it was certainly their first music recital for audiences in Korea, Australia, New York and Quebec.
They were all watching at the same moment.
“Just to give you an idea of the time zones we’re working in . . .” said an Australian announcer, his face projected onto the huge screen via a video feed. “In Quebec and Syracuse — where we just were — it’s about 10 to seven on Monday evening. In Anyang Shingi (Korea), where we’re about to go to, it is about 10 to nine in the morning, and in British Columbia, it’s about 10 to 4 in the afternoon.”
Hogeveen’s students were participating in an international music concert on Monday at Henry Grube Eduction Centre — one that was hosted by Ballarat high school in Melbourne, Australia, and made possible by videoconferencing technology.
The Lloyd George students were among nine classes connected by live video streams.
“You can see all the different schools that are participating on the right screen,” said Lloyd George teacher-librarian Michelle Cauchon, as she watched the concert. Cauchon was responsible for getting the Kamloops students involved.
“I thought this would be a great opportunity for them,” she said.
The ages of the students on the video screen were as varied as the countries they represented, and so was the music — everything from Calypso to jazz-funk.
“I thought it was really amazing,” said Julia Fabbro-Smith, a 12-year-old flutist in the Lloyd George band.
“It was really nice, I think, to see the music from the different cultures. I wasn’t expecting that.”
A highlight was a performance by the grades 4 to 6 students in Anyang Shingi school in South Korea. They wore traditional hanbok robes and played ancient hourglass drums as they broke into a rousing version of the pop song Gangnam Style.
“I liked the South Korean one,” said Lloyd George bass clarinet player CJ Ferguson, after the concert. “I liked their band; they were pretty cool.”
For their part, CJ and his Lloyd George bandmates performed a flawless version of Greensleeves.
And for all his pre-performance jitters, their teacher couldn’t have been happier in the end.
“They did themselves proud,” said Hogeveen, who was smiling after the concert. “They’re Grade 7 students and they sound great.”