Susan Magnusson (left) and Jane Watt sit together to review the published history book that they worked for two years on. Miranda Fatur Black Press Media

Langley Community Music School celebrates 50 years with history book, concert series

Susan Magnusson and Jane Watt teamed up to publish a LCMS history book.

In celebration of the Langley Community Music School’s 50th anniversary this year, a history book outlining each decade of the school – from its early roots, to the school today – was written and presented at last month’s 50th anniversary kick-off concert.

READ MORE: Langley Community Music School celebrates 50th anniversary with a sold-out show

The book titled Bringing Music to Life: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Langley Community Music School was written by LCMS principal emeritus Susan Magnusson, and Langley historian and author Jane Watt.

Magnusson explained her idea for creating the book sparked as she was preparing to retire from the school last year.

“I wanted to give something to the school because it had been such a wonderful part of my life. As I reflected on that I realized all of the people who had given so much to the school to make it what it is today should be recognized.”

And the book does just that, as it contains a complete list of faculty by the years, as well as sections divided into decades that highlight the successes and challenges of the school during those years, accompanied by historic photos.

Magnusson said as she collected records and information, it was evident the school’s past was clearly divided into two parts; the founding of the school, initial groundbreaking, and development beginning in 1969, and the school’s expansion with a new facility and new members that happened in 1999 with the launch of a capital campaign.

In 1973, Magnusson joined the school’s faculty, and said since she’s been involved with the school since nearly the beginning, she wanted to ensure history was not lost.

“I saw the accomplishments, I saw the struggles, and I just wanted to make sure we had it all recorded. There were a lot of memories,” she added.

Some of the highlights during Magnusson’s research included memories of the school’s Venetian Night fundraiser, parade and float decorating, various student events such as an Opera, stories about the original building’s challenges such as floods and ants, and much more.

“We had a good time remembering,” Magnusson laughed.

Throughout the years, Magnusson explained a strong element in the school has consistently been “community.”

“It was unanimous we wanted to be a community music school for the community – a community within a community, and a community of musicians and educators. So that was a strong element we feel in my opinion had a lot to do with our success because people wanted to support a community organization that was also established for its excellence.”

Co-author Watts, who lives in Fort Langley and has been writing history for 25 years, put her own children through the music school, and agreed the community feel is a driving force behind the school’s success.

“In the arts, there’s the mindset that great things happen far away. But when you see this school and the calibre of the faculty you realize that great things do happen close to home. Everything in the community has the hands of people on it. People think institutions just exist. When you work with looking at the history of things, you realize the kind of work that goes into great institutions over time,” Watts added.

Only 100 copies of the book were printed, as copies are reserved for those who have contributed to the building of the school, or those who feel strongly about the future of the school by supporting the 50th anniversary legacy fund with a minimum $500 donation.

Copies of the book will also be distributed to the City of Langley, Township of Langley, and the library.

Those interested in making a donation to the school can contact Magnusson at 604-534-2848 for more information.

To further celebrate the school’s golden anniversary, a year-long series of concerts are being held following the sold-out kick-off concert by pianist Jon Kimura Parker last month.

Next up is a Concerts Café Classico performance by LCMS alumna Dr. Susan Tang, who is bringing her piano talent back to the music school’s Rose Gellert Hall at 4899 207 St., on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $10 for students.

For more information, call 604-534-2848 or visit http://langleymusic.com/

RELATED STORY: Langley classical musician nominated for Canadian literary award

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