Families listen to students play music at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. (Arne Sahlen)

Families listen to students play music at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. (Arne Sahlen)

Students tickle the ivory for Canada Music Week in Kimberley

Column by Kimberley pianist Arne Sahlen

~Arne Sahlen

On Sunday November 20, St. Paul’s Anglican Church hosted ‘Canada Plus’ with 19 student pianists playing to honour the annual Canada Music Week (CMW).

Held each November surrounding Nov. 22, Saint Cecelia (Patron Saint of Music) Day, CMW focuses nation-wide on performers, teachers, composers, publishers, exam systems and more. Set up in 1960 by teachers in Rossland BC and Toronto, CMW is contrasted by *Canadian* Music Week each June with a more band-based focus.

At St. Paul’s, students played many pieces by Canadian composers – including some by the players themselves – as well as Disney, Harry Potter, Home Alone, Conservatory, Blues and other selections. Two pieces were especially atmospheric in the 131-year-old church: ‘Harmony of the Angels’ and ‘Amazing Grace.’

Some students showed technical prowess with crossed hands, ultra-challenging scales and such. “The action word for piano is PLAY,” says teacher Arne Sahlen. He also had sobering words; some of the parents had had fingers rapped, shoulders poked or worse for errors made in their childhood lessons. “There’s method in my madness, dressing up and joking around a lot. We music teachers still have a lot to live down,” he said.

Back to happy news: Sahlen told of the Canadian Music Centre (CMC.) “We have the world’s largest – yes! – agency for support of a nation’s own music. CMC has six Creative Hub sites across the country – two for BC, in Vancouver and Victoria – and a splendid website at cmccanada.org with listening, viewing, ordering and other services.”

Canadians have much to celebrate in music as well as sports, other arts, science and more. The Canada Plus event was in-house, but soon there will be public announcement of events to come.

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