Community / Press Release

Rosemount High School launches much-anticipated Arts-études program

ribbon cutting
Montreal - Friday, February 16, 2024

Rosemount High School (3737 Beaubien   inaugurated its new Arts-études program, the first-of-its-kind amongst English high schools in Quebec on Thursday, February 15  as part of Hooked on School Week. A total of 165 students across all grade levels (Secondary I to V) are taking part in the five-year program this academic year, with music now playing an integral part of the students’ daily class schedules

group picture

“It is about giving a holistic study in music, theory and practice,” said Anthony Cooperwood, Director of Bands at Rosemount High School, who is in his seventh year at the school. “We start from the very beginning. You will learn what a scale or a whole note is, and what the different keys are. From there, we will teach you how to read those elements and how to perform them on the instrument that you have selected. Students sometimes come here with no musical experience. We teach you everything.”

RHS music group

Local pop star Jordyn Sugar was a  special guest. Melina Catalano, who graduated from Rosemount High School 12 years ago and made a career in music, has returned as the EMSB’s first Arts-études consultant.

While music instruction has long been a staple at Rosemount, the introduction of the much-anticipated Arts-Études program allows for music to be incorporated throughout the school day, as opposed to strictly after-school as a 75-minute extra-curricular course between 3 pm and 4:15 pm. Music classes are now interspersed throughout the day, with students having as many as three for-credit music courses in a single day.

stage from the event

“Under the Arts-études program, we are asking the government for permission to allot a certain number of minutes throughout the school year,” said Mr. Cooperwood. “Under a regular music program, you can see the students, but for very short amounts of time. The Arts-études program makes it all possible.”

The music courses occur in non-traditional classroom settings, such as dedicated band rooms, a percussion studio and on the auditorium stage. All students are assigned their own instrument at the start of the school year, which is theirs to keep and maintain for the duration of the academic calendar. Such instruments include flutes, trombones, trumpets, tubas, clarinets and oboes, among others.

RHS music group on the stage

“We keep our stock current,” said Mr. Cooperwood, who works closely with longtime school music teacher Debbie Best. “We take care of our horns. The instruments in the program receive regular maintenance throughout the year.”

Rosemount High’s pre-existing extra-curricular music programs, such as junior and senior jazz bands, are also continuing. The school’s popular performance ensemble group “Class Act” is also back for its second year. The group, made up of a small group of senior-level students, was the brainchild of Mr. Cooperwood as he sought to create a student band “with a professional touch” that would embody what is being taught at school. The group performs a variety of music, from classic hits to wedding songs.

Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Cooperwood would go on to study at Truman State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music and Piano  Performance, as well as a Master’s of Arts in Music Education. He would later work for the university as director of recruitment for students of color.  Mr. Cooperwood next moved to New York City as he pursued a professional career as a pianist. He joined Cirque du Soleil in 2001, touring across North America and Europe with the group for eight years as part of its Dralion production, on which he served as the keyboard and bass player, as well as backup conductor. Seeking a change of pace, Mr. Cooperwood moved to Montreal where he put his teaching degree to good use. He began at General Vanier Elementary School before ultimately joining Rosemount High School’s music department seven years ago.

See this report on CBC TV: https://vimeo.com/913530339?share=copy

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca.

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