Burnaby handbell choir wins national contest

A stirring cover of a song written for the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages has won a Burnaby handbell choir first-place honours in the CBC’s 2019 Canadian Music Class Challenge.

Every year, the national broadcaster invites music teachers from across Canada to teach students a Canadian song from a pre-approved list.

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Music classes and clubs then prepare a cover version and send in a video of their performance.

An estimated 50,000 students from close to 1,200 music classes from every province and territory participated this year.

The Burnaby school district’s Sound Wave Handbell Choir, directed by Inman Elementary School music teacher Janet Nordstrand, chose to cover Human by Twin Flames, the official anthem of UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, an initiative aimed at raising awareness about the disappearance of Indigenous languages around the world.  

Sound Wave’s rendition earned first place in the senior instrumental category, netting the group $3,000 to buy musical instruments and a plaque for bragging.

Sound Wave wasn’t the only Burnaby group to catch the attention of the CBC judges, though.

Second Street Community School submitted two covers: Camilo by Said the Whale and Hang Ups by Scott Helman.

Both entries made the top10 in the junior instrumental category.

(The school also got a shout-out on Twitter from Said the Whale for a performance of the Camilo cover students did at an official playground opening in November.)


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