Jason Kenney Just Put His Own Grandfather's Music on the Alberta School Curriculum
Kids, get ready to learn about big band musician Mart Kenney
Published Mar 30, 2021Alberta just rolled out the draft of its new elementary school curriculum, and one tidbit in particular has been raising some eyebrows — the inclusion of long-forgotten big band jazz musician Mart Kenney, who is the grandfather of none other than Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
That's right: Kenney has now mandated that Alberta kids will be forced to learn about his grandfather's music. Twitter user @PhilipTurnbull points out out that the grade 6 curriculum specifies that kids should learn about two big band jazz pieces: "In the Mood" by legendary swing musician Glenn Miller and "When I Get Back to Calgary" by Mart Kenney.
"When I Get Back to Calgary" is sung by Norma Locke — who just so happens to be Jason Kenney's step-grandmother. Meanwhile, the curriculum omits genre leaders like Duke Ellington, or leading jazz/swing vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra.
Jason Kenney seems to be very proud of his grandfather's music, having tweeted about him many times over the years. In fact, on December 31, 2015, he tweeted that he had just discovered the very same song that's now on the curriculum:
Take a listen to "When I Get Back to Calgary" below if you'd like to hear what Alberta kids are going to be taught is a definitive work of big band jazz.
Stumbled across fun song written by my grandmother Norma Locke & recorded by Mart Kenney, When I Get Back to Calgary https://t.co/gX6nuAyMu8— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) December 31, 2015
Interestingly, Mart Kenney had his own brush with a political career. In 1968, he campaigned to get the Liberal nomination for Toronto's North York seat; he lost to Barney Danson, who later became a cabinet minister in Pierre Trudeau's government.
Despite recording "When I Get Back to Calgary," Mart Kenney wasn't actually from Alberta. He was born and raised in Toronto, and in his later years, he lived in Mission, BC. He was primarily active as a musician in the 1930s and 1940s.