By Maria Spitale-Leisk, North Shore News
Said the Whale bandmates Jaycelyn Brown, Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester join Grade 12 student Erika Brauner (second from left) Friday at Argyle, where the band performed a concert and donated money to the school’s music program. Photo by Mike Wakefield, North Shore News
“It’s fun to fantasize about Bryan Adams roaming the halls here,” remarks Said the Whale co-frontman Tyler Bancroft.
The popular Vancouver indie-rock band stopped by Argyle Secondary last Friday afternoon with instruments and a cheque in hand to foster musical growth at the school.
Argyle was one of 10 dates on Said the Whale’s high school tour, which also included Mountainside earlier in the week. It was Argyle Grade 12 student Erika Brauner who arranged to have the Juno-winning artists come put on a professional concert in the gym.
The band had issued an open call on social media, in search of Metro Vancouver schools that wanted to join the tour.
Brauner, a big Said the Whale fan, jumped at the opportunity. In her email to the band, Brauner extolled the virtues of Argyle's music program and said it would be awesome to have them perform at her school.
“Most of the concerts I go to, it’s like you’re watching a show. With them, it’s more like an interactive experience,” explains Brauner.
Friday afternoon at Argyle was no different. Bancroft and his bandmates energized the students with their infectious tunes. After the concert, Brauner sported a broad smile.
“It was so good,” she says. “I’ve been looking forward to this for so long.”
Photo by Mike Wakefield, North Shore News
In addition to putting on a free show at Argyle, Said the Whale also donated $1,200 to the school’s music program, as they did at Mountainside.
Argyle music teachers Diana Chan and Frances Roberts are thrilled with the donation. The gift will go toward capital investment for the school’s music program, which is looking to upgrade some technology.
As the school year draws to a close, Chan says the annual cabaret evening featuring Argyle jazz bands and choirs was a highlight. Also, in April, the senior bands and choirs made their mark at the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival, where the students not only performed but also participated in workshops. Next year the Argyle music program is heading back to the Baltics, with an itinerary that will see students performing in venerable churches and universities.
A trombone player herself, Brauner took that band trip and says it broadened her horizons.
“Any time you are travelling the world with your friends is incredible,” attests Brauner. “It was just amazing being able to play in these cathedrals with people I knew from Canada.”
Said the Whale had another announcement up their sleeve at Argyle. They are currently in search of an opening act for the band's big show at Malkin Bowl on Sept. 6 – the kickoff to their Canadian tour.
“We are basically looking for an artist, band, performer under the age of 18 to be the first opening act of the show,” says Bancroft. “I just think there are not a lot of big breaks … . This is an opportunity to play in front of a large crowd, to be a part of a professional concert.”
Interested artists can go to Said the Whale's website and upload a video of an original song before the contest closes in the middle of June. In addition to snagging the opening slot at Malkin Bowl, the winner will also receive a day of recording at Monarch Studios. The top five young musicians, meanwhile, will get a mentorship session courtesy of Said the Whale.
Argyle principal Kim Jonat said having the band at the school was a unique and positive experience for the students.
“One of the things I really liked is they’re giving back to the local community and promoting music education in our school,” says Jonat.