Students at Lakeside Academy in Lachine will raise funds for their after-school music program in grand style Thursday.
The 19-member Lakeside Academy All Star Band and the Lakeside Academy Choir will join forces with Trevor W. Payne and the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir for a gala fundraiser.
Proceeds go toward the purchase of instruments for a 30-member concert band.
“Learning music is a positive thing for students in so many ways,” Lakeside Academy music teacher and band director Joann Blondin said. “They build a sense of community. They learn how to succeed and fail as a group and they engage both the left and right sides of their brains when they play an instrument.”
The Jubilation Gospel Choir does a certain number of charity concerts every year, sponsored by the Gilead Jubilation Foundation, but this is the first time the choir has gone to a school to perform with students.
“The choir coming here gives the students a sense of pride,” Blondin said. “When I arrived at the school three years ago, the music program was at an all-time low.
“I grabbed the opportunity to really turn things around and I got great support from the staff and the principal, Michelle Harper.”
Blondin is a seasoned horn player and drummer with 25 years professional experience touring with, among others, Cirque du Soleil, Robert Charlebois and Claude Dubois. At Lakeside Academy, she put together the All Star Band and took them on the competition circuit and hopes to do the same thing with a concert band, but needs instruments.
“We didn’t have much in the way of instruments for the jazz band when I first arrived, so we held a charity barbecue to raise money,” Blondin said. “I want to build up the concert band and take them to competitions in Quebec, Canada and the United States.”
The All Star Band, made up of students from Grades 8 through 11, was selected to play at the Montreal International Jazz Festival last year.
“They aren’t all A students. But when they join (the band), they really get into it and you see results,” Blondin said. “Playing music is a positive experience which helps keep them in school.”
The 24-voice student choir is directed by Lester B. Pearson School Board music coordinator John Leblanc and Blondin directs the All Star Band.
“When I arrived I had 10 kids show up for the jazz band. Now, I have 19,” Blondin said. “I have 30 kids waiting to be part of the concert band.”
The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and students from Lakeside Academy perform at the Louise Pelletier Auditorium at Lakeside Academy, 5050 Sherbrooke St. in Lachine, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25, $30 and $100. The $100 ticket includes a 6 p.m. reception and a 9 p.m. meeting with Jubilation Gospel Choir members. Call 514-637-2505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.