Music to their ears

School District 69 (Qualicum) okays KSS music program for 12/13

Dave Stewart

Dave Stewart

A music academy in School District 69 (Qualicum) has received the green light and should be up and running for the 2012/2013 school year.

The board of trustees voted to move forward with the music academy at their regular meeting April 24, by approving start-up funding of $5,000.

The music academy will operate mainly out of Kwalikum Secondary School (KSS) with expertise from Dave Stewart and Dan Craven — the teachers who for many years have been building on the school’s music department.

There will also be collaboration with Ballenas Secondary School and in the future, as the program grows, the middle schools will be included.

Stewart, who lobbied for the music academy for seven years, said he was ecstatic when he heard the news.

“It’s a great first step. Now we have to get the program up and running. Putting it together is going to be a lot of work but everyone is excited,” he stated.

The new program will be designed give students a higher performance level and the hope is it will attract more international students and generate some revenue for the school district.

Stewart said the concept for the program has changed slightly because initially it was hoped it would attract more students from outside the district.

He admitted the increase in enrollment likely won’t solve the district’s budget woes, but starting the program is a positive step.

“The academy will be a real benefit.”

Stewart said it should be self supporting by year three.

The (KSS) music program is nationally recognized for its continuing tradition of excellence with many famous players involved over the years including Qualicum Beach’s own Juno Award winner, Phil Dwyer, and former instructor, trumpeter Bill Cave.

The board also approved a tuition fee for the program of $1,500 per student.

When the program was pitched to the school board by Stewart he admitted that grants and scholarships would be needed so the program would be accessible to all students.