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Barsby’s School of Rock and Roll

May 11 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Para Social Band photo

Come see the High School band Barsby’s School of Rock and Roll at the waterwheel park bandshell in Chemainus on May 11th !


Prior to the Covid 19 Pandemic and Lock down in March 2020, the John Barsby Band Program was a traditional concert / jazz band with wind instruments, stringed instruments, and percussion. When some restrictions were lifted the following September, Music Director Russ Der did not feel it was in the best interest and safety of the students to resume with wind instruments, so he created an all-percussion format for all the music groups. What resulted from this was a very energetic and talented Drum Line that played at many athletic events, for three years. Unfortunately, it did not increase the number of students enrolling in band the following year.

Two years ago, the Senior Concert Band changed to a Rhythm & Blues format with a rhythm section, horns, and vocalists, which really “took off “!! It was a different way of learning how to play music, and the students really embraced it! The Barsby Music Ensemble performed several times during the semester, each time engaging and impressing their audiences! The final performance was in front of the entire school body which resulted in a standing ovation!!

The following school year Mr Der decided to start a rock school program for the music component of the Grade 8 Elective Rotation. The response from the young students was incredible, and after the second rotation was completed, he took ten students who were enthusiastic and wanting to develop their musical skills further and formed “Barsby Rocks “They met twice a week at 7:30 am and performed several times at “Rock Revolt “, “Deni’s Showcase” and our feeder schools. Each time “rocking the house “with their excellent performances!

A huge part of the success of the rock school program can be attributed to the hard work and dedication from peer tutors Nico Suitor, Toban Fortier, Emmalee Heinrichs, and Dorian Sennie. Without these positive role models, the School of Rock would not have flourished to where it is today!

Fast forward to this year. The School of Rock class started the year with 40+ students in Grades 9 -12. Many of them were international students who had to leave before the Winter Break. The group performed at “Rock Revolt “in November to a packed house with a standing ovation and for the school wide “Festive Feast” in December. Tonight, is their final performance of the year, and undoubtedly will be their best!


A smaller group of students called the Road Trip Crew will be carrying on as an extracurricular ensemble to prepare for a weeklong tour of BC and Alberta in May. To help defray the costs for this trip they performed a series of shows at the following venues:  The Queens ( Nanaimo ), Aggie Hall ( Ladysmith ) , RCL Br 256 (  Nanaimo ) . Chemainus Water Wheel Park is their final performance before they embark on their Road Trip. Come support this group of talented young musicians!

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May 11
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society
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Waterwheel Park Bandshell
3828 Croft Street
Chemainus, BC V0R 1K2 Canada
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