Three Hills School Band Experiences Trip to Ottawa

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In the very early hours of Sunday, May 8, 28 Three Hills School band students from Grades 7-12, four parents, and I departed for the second part of and exciting exchange, funded largely by SEVEC, the Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada.  We spent one very active week in Ottawa visiting our host students from Immaculata High School and their families.
While in Ottawa, in addition to getting to know our amazing hosts, we got to see and do some fabulous things!  We visited the Royal Canadian Mint, the National Art Gallery, and several museums including the Museums of Aviation, Nature, and Civilization.  We also saw a unique theatrical production called "I Think I Can" at the National Arts Centre, and visited the Tulip Festival in downtown Ottawa.  Of course, no visit to our nation's great capital would be complete without a visit to the Parliament buildings and grounds.
We also got to take a day trip to Montréal, where students got to see some really unique architecture and visit some of Montréal's signature sights.  We visited St. Joseph's Oratory, Notre Dame Basilica, and spent some time shopping and dining in Old Montréal.  We also took in a wonderful concert by the Montréal Symphony before a late return to Ottawa.
As if we didn't have enough to keep us busy with all of that sightseeing and socializing with our wonderful hosts, our students also rehearsed and performed with Immaculata High School students in a special concert at the school's Fine Arts Night May 12. Our Jazz and Senior Concert Bands each performed on their own, then all of the band students from both schools performed in a mass ensemble of over 60 students. It was a great event!
Back in February, we had the privilege of hosting 28 great people from our twin school, which was a fantastic experience! Our school, students, parents, and community showed our guests some of the best things our town and area have to offer including visits to the Three Hills Hutterite Colony, the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, The Calgary Tower, CANTOS Music Foundation, CrossIron Mills Mall, and Banff! Our guests also enjoyed much local hospitality through a guided tour of Three Hills, an evening at the Aquatic Centre, and they even tried curling at our Curling Rink with the help of some expert local curlers!
This exchange has provided our students and me with an incredible opportunity to learn, grow musically, experience different cultures and create lifelong friendships. A project of this proportion would not have been possible without the help of SEVEC and our very supportive home, school and municipal communities. We are truly grateful for the experience of a lifetime!
Our students and I would like to express our thanks and demonstrate the musical skills we have gained throughout this exciting year. We would like to invite all community members to our year-end concert on Thursday, June 9 at 7:00 pm at Three Hills School. Admission and refreshments are free for everyone. We'd love to see you there!