BLOOMFIELD - In his three years teaching music at Bloomfield Elementary School, Devin Krauskopf had never witnessed the level of interest in the music program that was evident this fall.
Fifty-five students, one-quarter of the student population, joined the choir, and there was so much interest in a rock band that he created two bands.
While Krauskopf, who is known to his students simply as Mr. K, displays a contagious passion for music, he believes the opportunity to participate in a video helped fuel some of the interest.
Peter and JJ MacNeill, owners of the Bloomfield Foodland store, had approached the music teacher about the possibility of the choir students performing the Sobeys Christmas jingle, “Star of Christmas,” for a pre-Christmas online video contest. Should their store win, they decided that the prize money would go to the Bloomfield School music program.
The students were on board from the get-go and numbers swelled. The choir quickly learned the words, Mr. K said. Since the video, they have also performed the jingle during the school’s Christmas concert and during a choir visit to the Lady Slipper Villa.
The videos were entered in a contest with Sobeys stores in one category and Foodland and Co-op stores in the other, competing for online votes. The winning videos would receive $5,000 for the charity of the store’s choice.
Bloomfield Foodland and the Bloomfield School music program were among the grand prize-winners.
“I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape,” Krauskopf said, in assessing what the prize money will mean.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said Grade 4 choir member Ciara Shaw.
“We definitely need new ukuleles,” added Madeline Oliver, Grade 2.
Krauskopf had been trying to think up fundraising activities to help replace some of the school’s ukuleles, some of which are borrowed and are date-stamped 1987. With the prize money on its way, the worry about finding the funds is eliminated.
The rock band’s bass amp is in need of replacement, and Krauskopf said some child-sized acoustic guitars would come in handy. He would also like a xylophone for younger music students and a complete set of puppets for the kindergarten to Grade 1 students.
“You buy the ukuleles yet?” a rock band member asked, upon arriving for practice.
The money will also allow for some odds and ends and some funds to be set aside for future needs.
“I would never have thought of fundraising that much,” said Krauskopf. “This puts us in a good position.”
Committing the prize to the music program at Bloomfield was an easy choice said Peter MacNeill.
“We knew (the prize) would be put to good use.”
The store is near the school, and he sees staff and students in his store daily. The MacNeills have two children currently attending the school and one who has graduated from the school.