A Daily, Musical Celebration

by Douglas Stewart, Principal of Terry Fox Elementary School

Our school is fortunate to have an exceptional team of teachers and support staff. There isn’t a single member of our team, however, who would not begrudge singling out one particular individual who has brought something exceptional to our school community, Corey Craigmyle.

Teaching is in Corey Craigmyle’s DNA. Both of Corey’s parents, Karen and Peter Craigmyle, were highly regarded physical education teachers who have since retired from the LBPSB. I first met Corey when he was a drummer in the Lindsay Place High School music program when I was a part of the admin team. Corey seemed like a somewhat introverted and serious minded kid at the time. I have since learned that he is neither. Though he takes his work very seriously, kids from K4 to 6 have come to know Mr. C as a fun loving animator of some of the most creative, cooperative and inventive games that typically leave kids exhausted, but happy. But these days, Mr. C is best known for his exceptional elementary jazz band.

Ironically, our school doesn’t actually have a band program. Corey created a program out of borrowed musical instruments collecting dust in schools and music stores, all across town. While Corey’s program involves as much movement and play as much as musical instruction, Corey’s band program is an extracurricular activity that starts during morning daycare, returns at recess, back again at lunch, and returns after school. 

Our music room (which has expanded into the corridor, adjacent classrooms and office space, to become our music wing) is a workshop of organized chaos as kids voluntarily practice their instruments on their own time, with the anticipation of performing for their peers, their families, and from time to time, other schools within the LBPSB. Throw in some CBC music contests (bronze in 2019), a musical partnership with John Rennie’s incredible Craig Hodgson, Corey maintains a collegial and cooperative connection with many exceptional LBPSB music teachers, Mr. C’s band has reached new heights with a forthcoming performance of Oh Canada at a Laval Rockets game, culminating with the honour of representing our school board at this year St. Patrick’s Day parade, where elementary band students will be performing for the first time.

I haven’t yet mentioned one of the best details of all; these kids are great musicians. They are playing beyond their years because of the opportunities Mr. C has created for them. Our school team and PPO lend a hand with time and funding. Our band parents are quick to respond for rides to gigs when the kids need them. This program, like all of our LBPSB music programs, comes down to one exceptional person who manages to perform musical miracles on a daily basis.

We owe a tremendous debt to our music teachers of which Corey (who would be the first to praise their talents), has made an incalculable difference to the well-being of our students. Music and the joy of learning are celebrated at Terry Fox Elementary, every day. Where would our schools be without the joy these music programs bring to our kids? My office is down the hall from the music room. I must have heard some songs over a thousand times. It’s all music to our ears.