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Video: Evolutionary Band director releases first-ever single

Norm McIntosh ran Confederation Secondary’s Evolutionary rock band for 37 years, but he’s never written his own music before

For 37 years, music teacher Norm McIntosh ran Confederation Secondary School's Evolutionary Band, the school’s celebrated student rock band.

The high school rock band has been visited by musicians and groups including Three Days Grace, Keshia Chante, Suzie McNeil, Tragically Hip, Sloan, The Trews and Finger Eleven.

It set the Guinness World Record for the deepest concert in 2007 after performing at Vale's North Mine. McIntosh himself was the inaugural recipient of a Juno Award for Music Teacher of the Year.

But in 2017, McIntosh retired from his job, having stayed on eight years after he qualified for retirement. With McIntosh's retirement, Evolutionary Band also came to an end.

Since his retirement, McIntosh briefly tried to start a community band version of Evolutionary, but that didn’t end up working out. He’s also been working with some vocalists — most of them Evolutionary members — getting them ready for the recording studio.

During his years with Evolutionary, the teacher had written chord charts, bass and keyboard lines, composed brass and woodwind phrases and coached vocalists.

But McIntosh has never written his own music — until now.

He just came out with his first single, entitled “Stay With Me (This is my Song).” McIntosh said it took him about three weeks to write the song from start to finish.

You can hear that song below:


“I'm not sure how it even happened,” McIntosh said.

“I remember many nights laying in bed like late at night and hearing this melody go over and over in my head and started to put some words to it, and then I’d get up out of bed and write the words out. I was somewhat afraid that I'd forget in the morning what the words were, and then it just kind of snowballed from there a little bit at a time, and came up with a song.”

After he had the song written, McIntosh called in former student and vocalist Veronica Ranger, who was part of Evolutionary Band from 2005 to 2010, and asked her if she’d be willing to record the song.

Ranger said she jumped at the chance, as McIntosh was always able to bring out the best in her during her high school years. The teacher “always inspired me to want to improve myself all the time,” she said.

As an aspiring musician, Ranger said it’s great to now have a single to her name. “So it's really nice to actually be able to have something that to call your own that when people ask if you have a video or anything recorded that you can show them that,” she said.

McIntosh recorded the piano and strings at Brent Wohlberg’s studio here in Sudbury, while the vocals were recorded and then the song mastered at another local studio run by Billy Bruhmuller.

In terms of the message of “Stay With Me (This is my Song),” McIntosh said he prefers to leave it up to the listener to come up with their own meaning.

But Ranger said she gets a feeling of unrequited love from the track. “Just because for me, it sounds like almost a plea for your love or lost love to see things a little more clearly that if they don't stay, they might be throwing something good away,” she said.

McIntosh said he’s pleased with the attention the song has received so far, having alredy received about 1,900 views. 

“So that's quite nice for our retired teacher in Hanmer, Ontario to have that happen,” he said. “I would have been happy with 100 views. So this was more than I expected at this time.”

McIntosh said he’s plugging away at a second song, but as for finishing it, “it's not going to be next week or next month or anything like that.” 

That being said, he and Ranger say they’d love to work together again in the future on a similar musical project.

Heidi Ulrichsen is’s associate content editor. She also covers education and the arts scene.