Confederation Secondary School’s legacy as the real-life “School of Rock” continues with a new generation of students.
For 37 years, music teacher Norm McIntosh ran the school’s popular Evolutionary Band, which was visited by famous musicians and groups and even set a Guinness World Record. But McIntosh retired in 2016, and Evolutionary also came to an end.
Enter Nicholas Beech, who became a music teacher at Confederation in 2019, and floated the idea of starting up a rock band once again.
It proved to be a popular idea. Despite interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Beech has been successful in getting his new school rock band, The Noise, off the ground.
He said he recognizes that he’s “standing on the shoulders of giants,” and that the “awesome” former Evolutionary Band program, which had a professional-level touring light and sound show, was “one of a kind.”
“So now we’re in the stage of building back up to that,” Beech said.
Beech said the joke behind the band’s name, The Noise, is that it works whether the band is awesome or awful on that particular day. “It works, it’s accurate,” Beech said.
Grade 12 Confederation student Izzy Dubois grew up hearing stories about Evolutionary Band, as her father was a member of the band in the 1980s, taking care of the sound system.
Dubois is actually from a small town called Dresden in Southwestern Ontario. She came to live with her grandmother here in Greater Sudbury this school year specifically so she could participate in The Noise at Confederation.
She said she’s a singer, and there are no similar musical opportunities in her old high school.
“I’ve always heard my dad talk about the band,” Dubois said. “I wanted to be somewhere where I knew that I'd have that opportunity, and I also wanted to be somewhere that felt like part of family history as well.
“I really like it here, and I really like being in the band. It's given me a sense of purpose that I don't think I've really felt before in my previous schools.”
Keaton Luttrell, who’s in Grade 11 at Confederation, said he loves playing bass guitar with The Noise.
“Rock and roll is where the heart is,” he said. “It's everything. I listen to rock music every day. I wake up to it, I go to sleep to it, you know? It's something I love to do.”
The Noise has a “Decades of Rock” concert coming up on June 8 that brings audiences through the history of music from the 60s through the 2000s.
The concert begins with groups such as the Beatles, the Stones, the Who and CCR, moves onto the Eagles and Led Zeppelin, and then to Van Halen, AC/DC and Guns and Roses, Nirvana, Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and finishing up with Green Day, Three Doors Down and Foo Fighters.
The show runs in the Confederation school gymnamisum starting at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for students and seniors and $10 for adults, and can be purchased from members of the band, at Confederation Secondary School, or online here.
“Come out and support these young kids,” said Beech. “They've been working their butt off. We really want to put on a great show for everyone.”
Heidi Ulrichsen is Sudbury.com’s associate content editor. She also covers education and the arts scene.