The University of Winnipeg Collegiate announced the launch of its new performing arts program on March 26.
The school will be implementing the first phase of its performing arts program this September. According to the dean, Rob Bend, the first phase will include an instrumental music program with a junior and senior band, a choral program with a junior and senior choir, a new partnership with the University of Winnipeg Virtuosi Concert program where visiting musicians will provide lessons to students, and a jazz dance program in collaboration with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.
The program will be taking place on two floors of Bryce Hall, which will also be used by the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts.
"There will be a room for the instrumental band and choir. There will be smaller rooms for tutorials, so the MCMA can use them for private lessons, and we can use them too," Bend said.
Bend anticipates the construction and refurbishing process to take place in a couple of weeks.
"We’ve been talking about the need for an instrumental band and music program for about eight years, and the opportunity never presented itself. Space is limited (at the university). It got serious last year," Bend said.
The faculty of theology, which had been occupying Bryce Hall until recently, moved out of the space, leaving it open for the taking.
"Dr. (Lloyd) Axworthy saw it and said, ‘Hey, this is the time,’" Bend said.
Bend said the performing arts program will be different from others due to the school’s partnerships with the RWB, MCMA, and Virtuosi Concerts.
"We’re looking at establishing partnerships with the arts community in Winnipeg," Bend explained. "I met with the representatives of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra just this week, talking about our mutual sets of needs. It was one of those rare meetings where I left with more energy than I came in with. You start brainstorming and you see areas of (common ground) that you didn’t know existed."
Isaac Wurmann, a Grade 12 student at the U of W Collegiate as well as the master of ceremonies for the launch, won’t be able to experience the performing arts program this coming fall since he’ll be graduating this year.
"I’m really disappointed that it’s coming this year. It sounds really fantastic," Wurmann, a Wolseley resident, said.
Bend said once the first phase is complete, the plan for the next school year will be to approach more arts organizations to develop more opportunities for the students, expand relationships with the academic departments at the University of Winnipeg, and develop the first interdisciplinary course.