Attention elementary school students who love music and dream about playing in a band: This may be your lucky day.
More than 30 years after its formation, the Lakeroad Lions Band is opening the door to all Sarnia-Lambton students in Grades 4 to 8 who want to learn to play an instrument and perform in an organized band.
The Lakeroad Lions Band had been restricted to students from Lakeroad, Errol Road, Cathcart Blvd and King George schools.
“The quality of our junior and senior bands is really good,” says volunteer Marion Watt, whose daughter was a band member in elementary school. She’s 24 years old now, but Watt continues to volunteer because she believes the band can impact lives.
“I’m passionate about the arts for children,” Watt said. “These kids become friends in the band and they identify as band members.
The senior band has placed first in the Lambton County Music Festival the past eight years. Sadly, last year, they were the only band entered in the elementary school category, an indication of the decline of music in the school system.
The Lakeroad Lions Band is not affiliated with the Lambton Kent District School Board. It’s a non- profit, parent-driven organization that started sometime prior to 1984, according to Watt’s records.
Acquiring and maintaining instruments was always the band’s greatest challenge, and at one time registration fees were as high as $400 a year.
But financial relief came in 2004 when the Bluewater Lions Club successfully applied for a Trillium Grant and the money used for new instruments. As a result, registration is $250 per child this year, including use of an instrument and instruction for the season.
Two instructors, Kristie Larsh and Ann Graham, teach the senior and junior bands respectively. The juniors meet at Lakeroad School on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. – 8:45 a.m., while the seniors meet Tuesdays and Thursday from 8 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Instruments include the flute, sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, trumpet, drums and trombone. Each year, the bands perform a Christmas concert and year-end concert.
Registration has been extended into October, said Watt. Currently, the senior band has more than a dozen members and the junior band just four students.
Apart from registration, each family is responsible for getting their band member to practice.
No experience is required to join the junior band.
For more, check out Facebook at Lakeroad Lions Band Recruiting or contact Watt at [email protected].
The Arts Journal features the people and events that enrich Sarnia’s cultural fabric. If you have an idea, contact Cathy Dobson at 226-932-0985 or [email protected].