Saskatoon

La Ronge, Sask., students tackle Tragically Hip in music video

According to teacher Colin Jolly, his band class is Ahead by a Century.

Band class takes to wilderness for CBC Music Class Challenge

For the second year in a row, students at La Ronge's Churchill Community High School are competing in the CBC Music Class Challenge. (Colin Jolly)

According to teacher Colin Jolly, his band class is Ahead by a Century.

For the second year in a row, Jolly has entered his kids at La Ronge's Churchill Community High School into the CBC Music Class Challenge. It's a nation-wide competition that pits high school bands against each other in a competition to see which band is the best in the land.

This year, Jolly chose The Tragically Hip classic as their entry in the contest. He took the teens to a wooded area in his backyard, broke out guitars, shakers and a bonfire, and started recording.

"It was exciting," he told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition. "They're a little crazy, because they get to be outside of the class for a bit. We had about four takes and we nailed it on the first one."

For the last several years, Jolly has taught a garage band class at Churchill Community High School in La Ronge, Sask. Every year, he takes budding musicians and teaches them percussion, basic guitar work and singing.

"It's a pretty special class," he said. "A lot of these kids, they don't know how to play a G on the guitar, and two months later, they're playing an acoustic night concert."

While Jolly normally lets the kids choose the songs they perform, this year he pulled the veto card. He said he was moved by Gord Downie's comments during his most-recent public performance. 

"I'm a huge Hip fan," he said. "And obviously, with all the stuff that's been going on with The Tragically Hip lately, I thought that would be appropriate."

Considering the news coming out of La Ronge hasn't been very positive lately, after a string of youth suicides, Jolly said it's nice to make a good news story.

"Whenever I bring up the class with people, they always have the same reaction," he said. "'I wish I had that in my high school.' Including myself."

Six winners will be announced Dec. 16.

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