The saying “music soothes the wild beast” was put to the test at St. John’s Academy in Shawnigan Lake on May 27.
For several days, a black bear was attracted to the smell of the school’s trash cans, which were kept outside in a wooden structure and not accessible to wildlife.
In response, the academy had restricted student movement to avoid the area where the trash cans are stored until the bear finally realized it couldn’t reach the trash cans.
But the bear was back on May 27, and music teacher Tristan Clausen had a clear view of the animal from his classroom window.
He said one of his students left the classroom through the outside door, but quickly retreated inside when she saw the bear.
“I have a saxophone, a trumpet and a trombone behind my desk, so I grabbed the biggest one that could make the most noise, which was the trombone, and started playing it as loud as I could in walking towards the bear,” says Clausen.
“I thought at the time that I should have learned the A&W theme song first. Apparently the bear didn’t care about my game because he ran into the woods and I didn’t haven’t seen since.
Clausen said he had no fear during the incident.
“I wasn’t far from the gate, but I could tell the bear was scared, which is why I wasn’t scared myself,” he said.
“The bear just left after seeing and hearing me play. It’s a rural school, so you never know what might happen. Bradley Myrholm [the academy’s director of academics] I said I was a legend and I don’t know it, but I plan to keep my trombone handy in the future.
The incident was filmed.