For 20-year-old Ashley-Marie Young, this year’s Snowman Jam
may be her last in the School Division, but it is one her family says she will
remember fondly for years to come. The event brings together diverse abilities
students and their families once a year for a special winter concert all their
own at the Board Office.
Ashley-Marie is an LRSD student with Williams Syndrome.
While her sister and parents say the condition has its challenges, it also has
gifts, such as being very musically inclined. They would also like more people
to learn about the condition.
Parents Shelley-Marie Olivier and Allan Young say that
Ashley loves music, that she’s always “got the beat,” and she only needs to
hear a song once and “she’s got it.” Olivier explains that Ashley-Marie gets
excited about Snowman Jam every year. For her last Snowman Jam, Ashley-Marie’s
grandparents, parents, and adult sister Amber-Marie Young all made arrangements
to participate in the Jam for Ashley-Marie’s last concert as an LRSD student.
Jen Braun is a Divisional Development Music Teacher at LRSD.
“This is their winter concert and music program,” she says. “Snowman Jam is a
celebration of [diverse students’] music learning as a mass ensemble. It’s a
way for them to showcase their skills, demonstrate leadership, make new friends
and connect with old ones,” she says.
Attendees and volunteers sang songs, played instruments,
learned dance steps, and took part in an interactive performance with Jake
Chenier, a well-known children’s music performer. The RIEL-EVATE Harmony Choir
performed four songs as well. Students from J. H. Bruns volunteered to act as
role models, dancing with the students and helping them with their dance steps.
Elementary children took part in the morning portion of the
Jam at 900 St. Mary’s Road, while the high school students rocked out the
afternoon session. In total, approximately 280 students, parents/guardians and
staff took part in the festivities.
2018 marks the twelfth year of the program.
(pictured above, from left): Shelley-Marie Olivier, Amber-Marie Young, Ashley-Marie Young and Allan Young.
-posted on December 21, 2018 by Communications Coordinator Michelle Lancaster