Manning area students singing community's praises

Manning area students singing community's praises

Two recent donations in support of music programs for youth have students in Manning singing the community praises.

Thanks to the support of Manning Diversified Forest Products (MDFP) the grade two class at Manning Elementary has a new set of violins and with the generosity of the Manning Youth Association, the Tri-school band has two new unique instruments.

At Manning Elementary School (MES) not only will the grade one students learn to play violin, starting this fall, the grade two class will as well with MDFP’s donation of $5000 that bought a new class set. Both sets which total 37 violins, all funded by MDFP, gives more students the chance to learn and it gives the grade one’s another year to sharpen their skills.

“It’s good to have more options like music and sports programs in school” says Real Arsenault, MDFP General Manager “Not everyone is academic and it’s good to offer more so that everyone can excel - everyone has different abilities.”

The community contribution is clearly more than monetary as Real speaks fondly of when the local Fiddle Club he belongs to performed “Away in a Manger” at the MES Christmas concert.

“Last year our fiddle group played with the kids at the school concert” says Real. “It’s good to see the kids take interest and see them grow and improve. Playing with the adults helps them to have goals and having kids and grown-up’s play together is a good thing.”

As for the Manning Tri-school band, an oboe and a piccolo, two unique and expensive instruments have been added to their ensemble with the $2000 grant from the Manning Youth Association.

“Community support in the band and the music program has a huge impact on so many levels” says  Melody Taylor, Manning Elementary School Vice-principal.

“Music engages kids in school, it increases confidence, brings the community together and it helps them to learn and develop academically. Studies show that music improves reading levels and math scores and it shows that what team work can result in. We are very grateful for their support.”

The Tri-School band has a total of fifty members representing all the three schools in the community supported by several volunteers that share music with students. Community member Carole Dastous says it is very rewarding to be involved in the community band.

”We talk to each other as musicians, not as adults talking with kids,” says Carole. “I certainly enjoy playing with them and helping how I can – it has been a fantastic year.”

The Tri-School band practices weekly and earlier this year they attended a festival in Cold Lake where every performance received honors except two who received distinction (higher than honors).

According to Taylor, students requested to rent instruments over the summer to practice with and registration has significantly increased for next year’s band program.