The top of the charts: Laurier wins CBC Radio 3 online contest

Shad completed his BBA at Laurier (File Photo by Mike Lakusiak)

Wilfrid Laurier University was recently bestowed the title of best music campus in Canada by CBC Radio 3 in an online poll.   While this is a great honour — in which students, faculty and alumni voted online for — there is a little confusion as to what exactly this title entails.

“You would define a best music campus by several aspects: venues in and off the vicinity of campus, local musicians and alumni and … the faculty of music is highly regarded,” stated James Blake, Station Manager at Radio Laurier when asked to define a best music campus.

Glen Carruthers, the dean of music at Wilfrid Laurier University, echoed a similar sentiment, but with a twist.

“Anything these days involves diversity, involves welcoming all kinds of activity and I think that Laurier is that kind of campus where we do a lot of things very well,” he said.

“I think to be best at anything, you need to be diverse, you need to be responsive to new situations, you need to be welcoming, you need to be, in a sense, confident of who you are in an institution to allow flexibility. I think we’re all of those things … I think we want students to explore themselves musically,” Carruthers continued.

Laurier is the proud starting point of many musically associated people, boasting famous alumni such as Shad, who graduated from the BBA program, and the indie act Will Currie and the Country French, who all attended Laurier together. Evan Abeele from Memoryhouse also attended Laurier.

As well as famous alumni, Laurier also has a very supportive community when it comes to exposing students to different facets of music and the music progress. It is communally agreed upon that a best music campus encompasses all types of music performed in any form, whether it be on or off campus.

Through the work of the Activites Team (A-Team) at the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, campus is exposed to diversified music with up and coming stars. A-Team’s clout in bringing in big acts has only gotten strong as students had the opportunity to see such popular acts as Mac Miller, The Weeknd, Passion Pit and Chad Brownlee.

To encourage student musicians, Wilf’s Restaurant and Bar hosts a weekly open mic night every Monday evening where any student can perform.

As well, last year Radio Laurier and A-Team joined together to put on the first annual Laurier Idol where students were able to sign up and perform to songs to a panel of judges within the school.

Recently, the department of residences and the faculty of music sponsored a singer and songwriter residence learning community (RLC) which is open to first year students and all majors.

Though this is an incredible opportunity, it seems a little removed from some of the student population.

Andrew Harris, a second year biology major, who said that he was aware of the contest previous to the announcement, voiced what most of the student population is probably thinking: “The music faculty at Laurier is very well known but people come to Laurier for the music atmosphere.”

“I’m glad Laurier is being recognized for something other than business. I think we do deserve it, especially since A-Team is promoting music festivities. [But] I don’t know how much merit the actual award carries.”

There were a few concerns with the validity and unbiased nature of the poll as it was audience based rather than conducted by a panel of experts.

However, Carruthers has complete faith in the talent of Laurier.

“I think Laurier has many advantages musically over other universities. In that it has, at its core, a very internationally known faculty of music but our musical activity is not limited to the faculty of music … I think having a strong faculty of music as its core helps to make Laurier what it is,” he explained.

“Some people may disagree [on whether Laurier deserved to win this title], from my point of view it is very reflective of the work of every real musical factor on campus as a whole. Whether it is [Radio Laurier,] the music faculty and the local venues—it’s reflective of how everyone is perfecting and working hard away at their own aspect of the music scene,” Blake said.

With this accolade under our golden belts, Laurier can only hope to grow and mature with this title in future years.

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