How Viking Musicians Missed Out On First-Ever Performances this Year

WCI's orchestra performs during the Winter Music Night, December 2019. Photo by Mr. Bishop.

On Thursday, March 12th, the Ministry of Education announced that “all publicly funded schools in Ontario [would] be closed for two weeks following March Break, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Since that announcement, the virus has continued to spread, and the rest of the semester happened via distance learning. That meant that all the high school-related activities were be affected, most of them being be canceled, including performances by WCI’s music students. 

Among the canceled events, Mr. Piche was saddest about not being able to finish off this year with many of the graduating students. He explained, ”This cohort of grads are special. Ever since they were in grade 9, I have been thinking and planning the music that we would do in their graduation year to try and maximize opportunities and create special memories. We had some amazing things lined up for this spring, and it’s sad to not be able to have those experiences when we were so close.”

In April, WCI’s ensembles usually compete in the Kiwanis Music Festival, and at the end of April, the annual Spring Concert was scheduled. Both of these events had to be cancelled.

According to Piche, this year was going to be particularly special: “For the first time ever, we had a student, Anna S, compose and orchestrate a piece for one of our ensembles.”

A recording of this piece called, “One Last Time,” can be viewed here:

Of this performance, Piche said, “The video stores their talents and efforts and shows us in this unique way. The video will become a memory for everyone that we can still be together at this special time.”

This was to be a year of firsts for the music department. Missed performances for the year also included the Senior Chamber Orchestra’s first ever collaboration with the Chamber Choir to perform Vivaldi’s Gloria, an Irish Junkyard jam, which is a Celtic sounding orchestration that was to feature a solo quartet made up of Ben B, Nadia V, Anna S, and Claire C.

Piche also shared that Elina H was to perform a piano solo for the Bloch Concerto Grosso, which, according to Piche, “is an epically aggressive modern composition, and it is so fun to play.” He said, “I had been planning this as a piece for Elina to play in her senior year since she was in grade 9.” 

The annual trip to Canada’s Wonderland where performances were scheduled as well as the Toronto trip to see a Mirvish Production and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform also had to be cancelled.