(File Photo from Pixlr)

District SD61, the Greater Victoria School District, is at risk of losing most of its music programs in elementary and middle school as the district considers cuts.

The district has had a $7 million shortfall this year that will be rebalanced by cutting significant programs, including music.

The cuts are part of a commitment to “aligning learning needs” and “living within our [the district’s] means.”

The budget cuts will affect Oak Bay’s ukulele program and the district’s middle school band, choir, and strings programs.

Grade 8 band classes will remain.

The decision came as a shock to many parents and kids. A small protest/impromptu concert was held at the lawns in front of Lansdowne Middle School this morning, April 12th.

Nick Lariviere, a working musician for acts such as 54-40, believes this is a letdown to kids, who like himself, grew up with the desire to be musicians.

“I started playing trombone in elementary school, and immediately took to music. I knew from a young age that this was what I wanted to do for my career,” Lariviere told Victoria Buzz.

“There were other classes I took throughout school that felt far less important and now I’m a full time musician. I can’t imagine doing anything else, but without that early start in my life things would have been very different.”

The decision to cut music programs adds to the toll that this pandemic has taken on live music events.

The board meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 13th, where it will consider cutting the intended music programs.

To see the proposed budget cuts follow this link and click here to participate in the conversation.

A petition has been started which you can sign here.

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