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Dear Editor
On behalf of the countless students who have been lucky enough to have had Lesley Hallett as a teacher, we want to wish her the very best in retirement.

My family was lucky enough to get to know Ms. Hallett through the Notre-Dame Band.  These past few years have been especially challenging due to the pandemic, but Ms. Hallett was not going to let that stop her from providing a safe space for the band kids to continue making music together.   As wind instruments were not exactly COVID-friendly, Ms. Hallett provided the young musicians with boomwhackers (a tuned percussion tube) and found some fun music for them to learn. Two of her bands won Gold at this year’s Kiwanis Music Festival with their boomwhacker ensembles. 

When restrictions prevented the students from playing in the school, she continued to hold band practice in her home on Monday evenings.  As a parent waiting in the car, I know that these rehearsals often ran long because the kids were having so much fun that they didn’t want to leave! 

She also accompanied the band to Canada’s Wonderland Festival of Music this spring where the band performed two songs with their band instruments to rave reviews from the adjudicator, despite it being the FIRST time that the entire band played together in years.  Anyone who volunteers to take a bunch of middle-school kids on a field trip deserves a special medal!   But take them she did, and the video from the bus trip alone was proof enough of a successful trip.   The smiles, songs, and silliness were even sweeter after months of isolation. Wowing the judges was just an added bonus! 

Ms. Hallett has also taught private lessons to many students over the years, and she has been heavily involved in the Grey County Kiwanis Music Festival.  She has taught music for over 30 years and has placed provincially and even nationally with her bands. 

One of the signs in her music room states: “We can do hard things” and under her leadership, the kids really did rise to the occasion and take on challenging projects with gusto.   Hard things are easier when you have a good leader and you are surrounded by your friends.  Her bands were hard-working but also incredibly fun and inclusive.    

It would have been nice to have held a proper farewell concert for Ms. Hallett, but as with many things these past few years, COVID deprived us of that opportunity.  So we just want to take this opportunity to say: Bravo Lesley Hallett!  You deserve a standing ovation for your contribution to music education in our community.   We know that you are not quite done with music yet, and we can’t wait to see what your encore performance will be.

Best of luck in your future endeavours Lesley!

Michelle Lafleur
Jean-Pierre Bisnaire
Olivier and Juliette Lafleur


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