Band and Jazz

Westmount School Welcomes Mr. Steve Benson as our new Band Director!

He will also be the teacher of Grade 5 Music :)

Stay tuned for a list of dates and wonderful opportunities for our

Band Students in the 2018-19 school year!






Past Westmount News

Spring Break Update, 2017-18!

As Spring Break is winding down, I want to update you on everything going on in the band room.


The grade 8/9 and jazz bands both had great performances in Edmonton, the students received massive praise for the level of difficulty of music they performed, and the level they performed it at. The judges and festival organizers were very impressed with how mature and well-mannered the students were. The grade 7 band also had a fantastic festival performance in Calgary on March 14th. The adjudicators were blown away by the music they performed, and the festival organizers were blown away by how well behaved the students were.


Looking forward, there are several events still left this year. Events in BOLD require parent chaperones to allow us to have the trips. If you are available to chaperone please let Mr. Martin know ASAP by emailing him at If we are unable to fill the chaperone requirements for these trips, they will have to be canceled.


April 12th – Grade 9 Partner Band to FCHS (9-12)

April 23rd – Grade 9 Partner Band Festival at Mount Royal University (3-6)

April 25th – Grade 6 Band Festival at Senator Riley (1-3:30)


May 2nd – Festival Concert (all bands) at in Westmount School Gym (6pm)

May 9th – Grade 7, 8/9 Band festival at Red Deer College (7:15-5)

                        Students need to bring a lunch or money for lunch


June 5th – Final Concert and outdoor BBQ (all bands) 5:30

                        More details about this concert will come out in the next month.


Concerts outside of Westmount:

There are many local and Calgary-area concerts that are going on that students should consider attending. Attending live music performances allows students to see and hear their instruments performed at the highest level possible. Most of these concerts will be ones I am also performing in, or I feel would be most musically enriching.


Slide into Spring (April 15th, 2018)

Slide into Spring is Calgary's celebration for international Trombone Week. The day holds many different learning experiences for students throughout the day, which culminates in a performance in the evening with some of Southern Alberta's best trombone players, as a massed trombone choir students can be a part of. The poster with all the information you need can be viewed here.

Prime Time Big Band (April 28th, 2018)

The Prime Time Big Band is a jazz ensemble of some of Calgary's top jazz musicians. The Big Band Brunch occurs from 2-4 in the Ironwood Stage and Grill in Calgary. More information about the Prime Time Big Band and future shows can be found here.

Tuba or not Tuba (April 29th, 2018)

Altius Brass will be performing at St. Pauls Anglican Church at 2 pm in Calgary. Altius Brass is a pro-level brass choir based in Calgary, and this concert features both the Tuba and Euphonium as solo instruments, in addition to the other instruments of the brass choir. The poster with more information can be viewed here.

Beethoven Brilliance (May 5th, 2018)

The Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra is pleased to present Glen Montgomery performing Beethoven's Emporer Piano Concerto, and Beethoven's 7th Symphony in the Highwood Memorial Centre in High River. The Rocky Mountain Symphony is a professional symphony orchestra, that aims to perform in all of the towns outside of Calgary. You can find more information about the symphony at If you use the code 4824 when you purchase your tickets, they will donate a portion of that ticket to the Westmount Band program!! You can download the poster for the concert here.

Updates for each band are below:


Grade 6 Band

            All grade 6 students should have 2 pieces of music now; Furioso, and Appalachian Folk Dance. Recordings of these can be found here for Furioso, and here for Appalachian Fold Dance. These pieces will be performed at the festival on April 25th.


            All students recently completed a music theory booklet that was aimed to help students develop their note reading abilities. The key for this workbook can be found here, please go through this with your child. If students are needing extra help or practice, has several tools and lessons to help students.


            Students who are struggling to play their instruments or have concerns are encouraged to come see me during lunch in the band room for extra help. I’ve also had some wonderful grade 7 students who have been helping grade 6 students who come into the band room at lunch for help.


Grade 7 Band

            The grade 7s are ramping up for our performance at the Alberta Band Association Festival on May 9th. For this festival we will be performing; All Ye Young Sailors, Abide with Me, Primordium, and March Jubilanté. We require chaperones for this trip!


Grade 8 Band

            The grade 8s have worked incredibly hard so far this term. We’re getting ready for our next festival performance in Red Deer on May 9th. For this we will be performing; Three Czech Folksongs, … At Twilight, and either March of the Irish Guard, or Song of the Blacksmith. We require chaperones for this trip!


Grade 9 Band

            The grade 9s are quite busy right now with 2 festival performances that are 2 weeks apart. For the Partner Band Festival, we are performing Fields of Clover, Dorian Rhapsody, and St. Petersburg March. This festival performance is after school. After this on May 9th, we will be traveling to Red Deer for the Alberta Band Association Festival, where we will be performing; Three Czech Folksongs, … At Twilight, and either March of the Irish Guard, or Song of the Blacksmith. We require chaperones for these trips!


Jazz Band

            The jazz band had a fantastic festival performance in Edmonton, and impressed the judges with the complexity of the music performed, the attitude of the students, and how many students got up to perform improvised solos. Looking towards the end of this year we have 2 confirmed performances on May 2nd and June 5th at Westmount. We’re currently working on improvisation skills for all students, as well as learning lots of new music for these concerts.



Camp Caroline and Alberta International Band Festival

  • Camp Caroline, Grades 7-9, March 5-7 2018. Please see this link, for the Camp Caroline Handbook and Itinerary.
  • Westmount School Band Trip:  Alberta International Band Festival in Edmonton, AB, MARCH 12-13, 2018. - Please see this link for the forms regarding this trip for grade 8 - 9 band students.

  • West Edmonton Mall Intent Form: Grade 8-9 band students are able to shop, go to the waterpark or go to Galaxyland during thier trip to West Edmonton Mall.  Please see this link to complete the intent form.





WELCOME to the 2017- 2018 School Year!

Please find attached, the Band Handbook, which outlines the concert, camp, festival, and event dates for the year!

Westmount 2017 - 2018 Band

Calendar of Events

October 12               Band Concert – 7/8/9 Camp Caroline Information Session - Westmount Gym

November TBA         Chinook Band Festival

November 9              Westmount Remembrance Day Service

November 21            Jazz Night - Westmount Gym

December 7             Band Christmas Concert

December 13           Christmas Concert I WES. Gym –  (K,1,3,5 A&B)

December 14           Christmas Concert II WES. Gym -  (K,2,4,5 C)

February 8                 Big Band Bash – Fundraiser with FCHS

March 5-7                 Camp Caroline Grade 7/8/9 Bands

March 12-13             Alberta International Festival of Bands, Edmonton Gr.8/9

March 15                   Grade 7 Band – Alberta International Festival of Bands CALGARY

April TBA                   Gr 6 Beginner Band Festival

May 2                         Festival Concert – All Bands WES. GYM

May 9                         Alberta Band Association Provincial Festival – Red Deer 7/8/9 Bands

May 30-31                 Westmount School Musical

June 5                       Year End BBQ Outdoor Band Concert – 6 to 9



Westmount School has already developed a tradition and a reputation for outstanding Music students. The most important factor in improving a student’s performance is private practice. This should consist of at least 1 hour a week. This can be done alone or with a few friends, at home or at school. Band members not willing to make this minimal commitment will restrict the progress of the entire group. Like a chain, an ensemble is only as strong as its weakest link. It is more effective to practice every day, if possible. Practice sessions of less than 20 minutes have very little positive effect.

Westmount Wolves Grade 8/9 Concert Band: there are separate Gr 8 and Gr 9 band classes where we will work on technique, theory and general musicianship. Before performances extra rehearsals will be scheduled in the timetable and perhaps a few times outside the regular class time.  Music performed by the 8/9 Concert Band will be at the grade II-III level. In addition to concerts and festivals, the 8/9 Concert Band is planning a trip to Camp Caroline March 5-7 2018 and Edmonton March 12-13, 2018


Westmount Wolves Grade 7 Concert Band: Gr 7 band class where we will work on technique, theory and general musicianship. Music performed by the 7 Concert Band will be at the grade I level. In addition to concerts and festivals, the 7 Concert Band is planning a trip to Camp Caroline March 5-7, 2018.

Westmount Wolves Gr 6 Concert Band: The Gr 6 Concert Band will be made up of the Gr 6 Band Classes. It is an exploratory class where students will be able to try band instruments. Our first performance will be our Christmas Concert on December 7, 2017. The Gr 6 Concert band will also participate in the Foothills School Division Gr 6 beginning band festival in April. TBA

Westmount Wolves Jazz Ensemble: The 8/9 Jazz Ensemble meets regularly in the time table all year. Various performances are listed in the important dates. This group will perform at a high level and requires dedication from its members. The Gr 7 Jazz Class is an exploratory of Jazz music second semester.

Each Year, the Westmount Students have the opportunity to make leaps and bounds by attending Camp Caroline.  Clinicians, a musical environment, and the connection with fellow musicians create the atmosphere of learning and excellence.  This year, Camp Caroline will run from March 5 - 7.  The proposed itinary is as follows:

Sample Itinerary for Camp Caroline:


10:00am – Board Bus

12:00pm – Bag Lunch on Bus

1:00pm – Arrive at Camp Caroline – unload and find rooms

2:00pm – Rehearsal

4:00pm – Free time

5:00pm – Supper

6:00pm – Rehearsal

7:30pm - Free Time

8:30pm – Snack

9:30pm – In rooms

10:00pm – Lights out


6:30am – Early pool time

7:30am – Breakfast

8:30am – Clinics with professionals

10:00am – Free time

10:30am – Clinics

12:00pm – Lunch

1:00pm – Rehearsal with Guest Conductor

3:00pm – Free Time

4:00 pm – Rehearsal Guest Conductor

5:30pm – Supper

6:30pm – Rehearsal Guest Conductor

7:30pm - Free Time

8:30pm – Snack and variety show

9:30pm – In rooms

10:00pm – Lights out


6:30am – Early Pool Time

7:30am – Breakfast

8:30am – Rehearsal

10:00am – Clean Rooms and Pack

12:00pm  - Lunch

3:30pm – Back to Westmount School

**We want all music students to be able to participate. Parents who may have some difficulty paying these fees are asked to contact Mr. Graham. Our conversations will be kept in utmost confidence***

We look forward to a fantastic year ahead!  Thank you for your support, as volunteers and parents, as your children continue to excel.

- J. Graham


2016-2017 School Year

Planning for the Outdoor Spring Concert and Picnic, Tuesday, June 6

We have begun the planning for the Outdoor Spring Concert and Picnic!

Sobeys Beef on a Bun, salads and pop/water will be on the menu!  There will be more bands this year and a Cake Walk!

Band students will be responsible for assisting with the organization and facilitation of the event, including set up, serving and clean up.

Parents, please plan to bring a salad. Please volunteer to help support the students in set up, serving, and clean up. As well, we need a few parents to sit at the table to collect the meal tickets and such.

Families, can you donate an item for the draws?  Tickets will be sold at the event.  You may want to donate a small item for a draw, or work together with other families to donate an item.

Cake Makers: If your student would like to donate a cake, this is information for YOU! We would like to have as many cakes as possible to have at the Cake Walk – what’s a cake walk you ask?  Check out this link: What is a Cake Walk? Your student will work with 1 or 2 other students to create their masterpiece (cake, pie, cupcakes, cheesecakes …anything they want to make).  They can make their dessert at home OR they can bring their cake ingredients and stay after school on Monday, June 5 to bake a cake (cake or cupcakes only at this prep time) with Mrs. Johnston and Mrs. McWhirter (volunteer parents needed please).

They can decorate their cake at home OR at lunch time on Tuesday, June 6 in a one hour MASTER CHEF decorating frenzy!  Using their design plan and ingredients, Mrs. Johnston, Mrs. McWhirter and volunteers will be available to support the students as they work frantically to make their cakes AMAZING!

The same night, at the picnic, all families will have a chance to WIN DESSERT by purchasing a ticket for the cake you wish to win in the Cake Walk. This is an old tradition and is sure to bring fun and laughs, and some wonderful sweets to enjoy during the concert!

Chat with your student and find out if this is something they would like to participate in.  Tell Mrs. Johnston at the front office, and then start planning. It’s all about the kids having fun and feeling proud of their work!

A Band Tradition in the Making – Outdoor Spring Concert and Picnic, Tuesday, June 6

As mentioned at the Spring Concert, the Grade 6 – 9 band students will be hosting the upcoming Outdoor Band Concert and Picnic on Tuesday June 6, 2017.

The culture of the band students is unique. They are natural leaders. They are dedicated. They are reliable.

Westmount School staff, especially myself, are proud that the band students perform, volunteer, and travel in a respectful and mature style. They still manage to have fun and collect memories, and you can see their pride in their successes.

It is with this perspective, that I would like to hand the annual Outdoor Concert and Picnic over to the band students to organize and facilitate. A tradition in the making.

With the help of myself, Mrs. Sheena Johnston, and a crew of parents (Sheena is looking for volunteers), the students will form teams and brainstorm ideas to have a successful event. Including the first CAKE Walk!

You and your student will begin to receive emails regarding their participation in the event. For now, start talking to your student about their participation, and whether or not they would like to use their creative skills in decorating a cake to sell at the auction.

More information to follow and thank you for your continued support of the band program,

Mr. Jeff Graham

Alberta Band Association  – Red Deer, May 10, 2017

Grading at band festivals is a 5 point system – Superior, Excellent, Good, Fair and Poor. They are graded using a large rubric evaluating many things from tone, ensemble sound, musicality, to even stage presence.

Gr 7’s received marks of Excellence from all judges in performance, clinic and fundamentals clinic. So ended up with an overall grade of Excellence. For where these students were two months ago I’m very happy with that! Well-deserved and very excited to see their growth over the next 2 years!

Gr 8/9 had an amazing performance!!!! Can’t speak highly enough about these students. Mature beyond their years. They received Superior’s from all judges for performance and clinic… their sight reading judge marked them as a Good. This brought their overall mark down to an Excellent +
I can honestly say I was a little disappointed with that grade. But I always say, it’s kinda like figure skating, you never know what judge you’ll get or what they’re thinking!

I’m very proud of the students performances and the way they conduct themselves!

J Graham

Alberta International Band Festival – March 13

Hello Grade 8/9 Band parents.

Just wanted to congratulate you and your students on a fine performance at the Alberta International Band Festival held in Edmonton on March 13!

The week before, our Grade 7/8/9 students had an excellent time at Camp Caroline preparing with clinicians and the amazing Brent Pierce as their guest conductor. Everyone was impressed with their attitudes and musicianship!

The following week the Grade 8/9 students headed to Edmonton to participate in Alberta International Band Festival. While their performance wasn’t a personal best they still received top marks from both Adjudicators! With that they have received a GOLD AWARD for their superior performance!

This is once again quite the accomplishment! Not many bands receive a Gold award!!

So proud of these students and the music they make.

Thank you for your continued support!  Mr. Jeff Graham

Alberta International Band Festival Performance:

Grade 8 and 9 Band Students performed three beautiful pieces at the Alberta International Band Festival.  Please enjoy their performances below:

Overture On a Shaker Tune

We are looking forward to another exciting year of band events:

October 13, 2016: Band Concert and Camp Caroline Information Session – Grades 7/8/9
November 2-6, 2016:  Chinook Band Festival
November 9, 2016:  Westmount Remberance Day Service
November 22, 2016:  Jazz Night – Westmount Gym
December 14, 2016:  Christmas Concert I WES. Gym – 6/7 Band (1,3,5 A&B)
December 15, 2016:  Christmas Concert II WES. Gym – 8/9 Band (2,4,5 C)
March 6-7, 2017:  Camp Caroline Grade 7/8/9 Bands
March 16, 2017 (tentative):  Grade 7 Band – Alberta International Festival of Bands
March 13-14, 2017:  Alberta International Festival of Bands, Edmonton Gr.8/9
March 22, 2017:  Jazz and Java at FCHS
April, 2017:  TBA Gr. 6 Beginner Band Festival
May 2, 2017:  Spring Band Concert – All Bands WES. GYM
May 10, 2017 (tentative):  Alberta Band Association Provincial Festival – Red Deer
June 6, 2017 (Rainout date of June 7):  Year End BBQ Outdoor Band Concert – Grade 6 to 9 Bands