A unique combination of music was heard within the walls of Sunset Elementary School in Port McNeill when grade six and seven students performed a bucket drumming and ukulele concert.
The students pounded on buckets and strummed ukuleles for the special concert on June 14, which not only showcased what they have learned this year but thanked the community who has stepped up to support the school’s music program.
“The kids love doing it,” said Sunset’s music teacher Kevin Ogren, adding “I was pretty amazed at how well they did – We only had one time to practice as a whole group and it was last week, so it’s been a week since they have actually played.”
It was Ogren himself who came up with the idea of implementing bucket drumming in the school’s music program.
“Bucket drumming was a fluke,” said Ogren, explaining that after he had unsuccessfully applied for a grant he wanted to find something to add to the music program to keep it fresh and exciting.
With a yearly budget of only $200-$400, Ogren turned to Pinterest to find low-cost ideas and stumbled on bucket drumming.
“I put out a Facebook post on the PAC page and I had four or five groups bring buckets. I had so many I had to tell people to stop bringing them!”
Ogren said the school already had the ukuleles, some of which are more than 15 years old and still have the original strings.
“So that is my next fundraising goal to get new strings for the ukuleles,” laughed Ogren, adding that he’s now up to 60 buckets but appreciates having extra because they get quite banged up over time.
Ogren said he received bucket donations from Port Alice resident Drew Frank, Dee Carson from Carson Roofing, and Pita Rosback from Rona, as well as a $400 donation from PAC and another $300 from student council.
The biggest donation the school received was a $5,000 grant from MusiCounts Canada, which Ogren used to purchase new xylophones.
Ogren said xylophones are useful because students can read music and then play the actual notes on the instrument.
“I had some other xylophones that were broken which I’ve fixed so I have about 25 – 26 xylophones and the whole class can actually play xylophones now,” said Ogren, adding that because of the grant he was also able to purchase an instrument called boomwhackers and some additional handbells.
“This year we worked out that with donations we have probably added $7,000 to our music program and that’s from a budget last year of only $200,” said Ogren, adding “It will change our program next year”.
MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity and is affiliated with Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the JUNO Awards. The charity celebrates musical excellence and puts musical instruments into the hands of kids who need them the most and its mission is to ensure that all children and youth in Canada have access to music education.