School Jazz Band Performs to Raise Money

Music and sweet treats go well with just about everything, so why not put them together? That idea helped the Westmount Secondary School Music Department and their Music Parents Association put on their Jazz & Dessert concert and silent auction on November 15.

The event was held at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) in Hamilton, ON. The 19 students from Westmount’s jazz band performed that evening, as well as an additional 19 students in the school’s jazz choir. Their silent auction featured donated items such as jewelry, gift certificates, art work, and concert tickets. Meanwhile, refreshments, provided by the catering staff at AGH, consisted of a variety of dessert squares, cookies, and a chocolate fountain.

AGH opened their doors in the summer of 1914 with an exhibition of paintings by Hamilton-born artist William Blair Bruce. Included in the group of 33 canvases was the “Bruce Collection”; 29 pieces that were donated to the city of Hamilton by the artist’s widow, father, and sister. They donated under the condition that “an appropriate venue” be used for exhibition, and this led to the building of the AGH.

After spending 33 years housed on the second floor of the Hamilton Public Library, the AGH opened its second location. The one-story, Art Deco style building provided the gallery with 10,000 square feet of exhibition space and was built on Royal Botanical Garden land near McMaster University.

In the late 1960s the city’s downtown urban renewal project called for the gallery to relocate, and the new gallery opened in 1977. In 2003 an $18 million renovation was begun which lasted two years and “strengthened the gallery’s status as a world-class art museum.” The AGH collection now houses over 10,000 permanent works.

Westmount opened in 1961 and has over 1,200 students. The school offers gifted and special education classes and has an ESL program. Westmount is one of a few Canadian schools to operate a self-paced learning environment, meaning students complete courses at their own pace. Westmount also has a Sports Academy for high level student athletes and the music program offers participants the “unique opportunity, annually, for in-depth study at prominent universities with international music authorities in cities such as New York, Boston, or Chicago.”

Ted Bohn, event organizer and head of the music department, says they advertised at school and with the parents association and that the money they raised will go to support the music program and its students. Bohn also notes that the evening was quite a success. “We wanted to provide a performance opportunity for our jazz students and hold our annual silent auction. The AGH is a beautiful venue and it was great to let our students experience performing there.”