Opus: A Celebration of 30 Years

I love the movie Holland’s Opus, not only because it deals with the struggles of a music teacher in a world of cut-backs, but because it captures what comes from the passion of a single individual.
This past week I invited a couple of my Ya Yas to attend my son’s Spring band concert in celebration of the 40 year anniversary of Bishop Grandin High School and a 30 year old band program….all 30 years directed by one ‘magical’ individual.  As I listened to almost five hours of music, viewed countless projected images and listened to inspiring words from past alumni, I was astounded!  What an amazing program!
Several of Elmer’s students have gone on to earn Doctoral degrees in music and to hear them share some of their fond memories of early junior high and highschool band experiences, really gave a context for their lives. On several occasions through the program, I was brought to tears or had the sense that I was being carried away on the breath of music.
It is a sad thing that more Albertans are not advocating for the continuity of fine arts programs in schools.  It seems that philosophically, the arts are no longer valued by a ‘racing’ and ‘materialistic’ society and yet there continue to be heroes who go forward with courage and very little financial support, making the magic of music, drama, dance and art happen regardless.

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