Matt Minter, Gord Birkinshaw, Bonnie Day – Earl of March Secondary School
These three teachers – one a director, one a pit conductor and one a voice coach – led the incredibly successful and magical production of the musical “Into The Woods”. Each of these spectacular teachers brought their passion and expertise to mentor many students resulting in positive experiences that will last a lifetime. The academically diverse group of students that made up the cast and crew were fortunate to be under the leadership of such talented teachers. This ambitious undertaking reminds us once again the power of collaboration. Complete with digital backdrops, fantastic sets, great costumes, beautiful voices and even a live orchestra at each performance, this high quality production was made possible through great dedication and teamwork! Students were held accountable, challenged creatively, managed their school and production responsibilities along with the guidance and support of the Leadership team. Students were tasked with managing their school work and keeping up with the play rehearsal schedule. There were times where a student needed to be creative to come up with solutions to scheduling issues. Resilience and perseverance were important qualities developed through this process. n the end, once the rehearsals were done, the performance was
showcased to live audiences and the applause faded, there was sense of pride and of accomplishment. An experience to build futures on.
Matt Minter began teaching for the OCDSB 15 years ago as an English teacher at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School. Matt currently teaches Drama at Earl of March Secondary School where he has also been the Head of the Art Department for the past 5 years. Matt got his start in the local theatre community with Carleton University’s Sock ‘n Buskin Theatre Company and has also worked on stage at the GCTC, The Gladstone, and Centrepointe theatres as an actor, stage anager, director and lighting designer. To date he has directed 15 Cappie award nominated plays and musicals for Earl of March Secondary School and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School.
Bonnie Day has been teaching and instructing students in the OCDSB for twenty years. While her main classroom teaching focus has been in English and History, she has taught vocal music and has directed school choirs and acted as the vocal director for most of the Earl of March Secondary School musicals, including this year’s rendition of Into the Woods, in her time teaching there. Outside of school, Mrs. Day participates in the Cantata Singers of Ottawa choir and is active in both directing and performing in various community events such as La Machine this past summer. Teaching, whether inside or outside the classroom, is a wonderful opportunity to see students blossom and grow. At Earl of March Secondary School, Mrs. Day spends countless hours teaching vocal lines, playing a somewhat ineffective piano accompaniment in rehearsals, assisting in directing students on the stage, supplying granola bars and juice boxes to stressed out students and listening to student fears and concerns. Participating in the musical with Matt Minter and Gord Birkinshaw over the past years has been a highlight of her teaching career as all three work together to bring to life the arts for both students and the community as a whole.
Gord Birkinshaw is a graduate of the Faculty of Music at UWO, with an HBMus.Ed, B.Ed and MMus in performance on tuba. He has been teaching music at Earl of March Secondary School for the past 20 years, and currently directs the senior instrumental music classes, and the senior concert and jazz bands. In addition, he directs the Pit Band for the school musical each year. He has also been a serving member with the primary reserves of the Canadian Army for over 28 years, and recently stepped down after 12 years as the Band Sergeant Major of the Governor General’s Foot Guards to spend more time with his family and his students.