November 25, 2022

140 high school students visit AMPD for a day of musical exploration with Music alumni homecoming

Professor Karen Burke leading partipants in "Gospel Music is Whole-Body Singing" workshop accompanied by York Gospel Instrumental Instructor, Corey Butler.
Professor Karen Burke leading participants in the “Gospel Music is Whole-Body Singing” workshop accompanied by Corey Butler.

On November 22, AMPD Music welcomed 140 high school students to campus for a day of musical exploration and technique workshops for the inaugural We are York! (WAY), a Music alumni homecoming event. The event was a homecoming for three York alumni, now inspiring young minds as teachers in the greater Toronto area, who accompanied their students to campus.

AMPD alum and music teacher Phillip Torreneuva hopes his student peel away the fear behind studying music at post-secondary intuitions, “stepping foot into this facility, singing with professors, and learning from professors, they will be able to see that this is where they’re rooted and this is what they can do, they are good enough and they ready to do this.”

Darren Hamilton, former music alumni and 2022 Juno for Educator of the Year winner, brought 45 music students to campus to experience workshops representing distinctive courses taught at AMPD, including Steelpan and Brazilian drumming.  When asked why he made the trip, Hamilton said York University is the most diverse music programme in Canada, and he wanted his students to experience our music programme for themselves.

Gareth Burgess leading the "The Joy of Steelpan - York Steel Pan" workshop at WAY 2022.
Gareth Burgess leading the “The Joy of Steelpan – York Steel Pan” workshop at WAY 2022.

Workshops included Improvisation – From The Inside Out with Professor Emeritus Casey Sokol who helped students make connections between music skills and creativity; The Joy of Steelpan – York Steel Pan with Instructor Gareth Burgess who has been teaching steelpan for the past 17 years and quickly taught students how to make music on this 20th-century wonder; Hip Hop Songwriting & Performance Mastery with one of Canada’s only Hip Hop Instructors, ‘Nifty‘, who taught students how to perform hip-hop songs like a headliner; Finally, Gospel Music is Whole-Body Singing led by Professor Karen Burke showcased a fast-paced and fun session of gospel singing accompanied by York Gospel Instrumental Instructor, Corey Butler.