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Volume 13 - Issue 1 - September 2007

BAND Standby Jack

BAND Standby Jack MacQuarrieIt seems like only yesterday since these fingers took to the keyboard forBandstand, but it has been two months. For me, the musical highlight ofthis summer was a visit to Toronto by the National Youth Brass Bandof Wales. If you didn't get to hear this band, you missed a mostmemorable performance. (Unfortunately we didn't receive any informationon their visit until two days after the last issue went to press, so wewere not able to mention it in the column or in the Listings section.National Youth Brass Band of WalesOriginally established in 1982, like several other youth brass bands inthe UK, this band, through annual competitive auditions, draws its 40members from community youth bands throughout Wales. We expectedconsiderable technical skills from such a group, and were not disappointed.However, we were astounded by the combination of superbmusicianship and showmanship usually found only in more matureorganizations. I was sufficiently impressed by the band's Wednesdayevening concert presentation that I stood in the blazing sun on theconcrete of Nathan Phillips Square when they returned a few days laterfor a noon hour concert.Another noteworthy musical event this summer was a visit to theannual Warriors' Day parade. This year I watched from a comfortableseat in the Ricoh Coliseum rather than being in the band. From ourperspective, this event warrants mention for a number of reasons. It wasnoteworthy first for the fine but brief performance by The RegimentalBand of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, located at King'sPoint Long Island . This band, composed of regular cadets at theacademy, changes personnel twice a year as cadets leave the academy forregular sea training. Despite the fact that this group had only beentogether for a few weeks, their performance was truly professionalcalibre. In particular, they showed great attention to the dynamic nuancescalled for by the music, but rarely achieved on the march by most bands.On the downside, the CNE chose not to have this band perform atany other time. In contrast to those days when the CNE had a visitingfeature band performing twice a day on the Main Bandshell, except forthe brief involvement of bands in the Warriors' Day parade, bands nolonger have any place at the CNE.If I were inclined to embrace conspiracy theories, that Warriors' Dayevent in the Coliseum would have been added to my list. It could wellhave qualified as a conspiracy against bands from a number of aspects.Granted, lighting operators may consider themselves star performersthese days, but their light ballets are certainly a major distraction formusicians trying to read small print music while perfom1ing intricatemarching routines. From dazzling spotlights in their faces to almost totaldarkness to moving multicoloured beams arcing across their field of view,it must have placed significant challenges to the performers.If that weren't enough punishment, the bands were recalled to centrestage after an extensive drive-by of a large contingent of 65 year oldmilitary vehicles. This entourage of "vintage W.W.11 vehicles", fromjeepsto field ambulances, had left a heavy pall of exhaust fumes and bluesmoke in the confined space of the arena. It was bad enough for membersof the audience. What consideration is given to the musicians in suchsituations? Mind you, that could be the subject of a future column. Let ushear your horror stories of lack of consideration for musicians by eventorganizers. Whether they be accounts of interminable waits, inadequateseating etc., etc. get in touch.On that note, I am pleased to report that we received two welcomeletters recently in response to comments made in previous issues.The first is a letter from Bill Askew of the Oshawa Civic Band on thetopic of lack of civic amenities for community bands. While we don'thave space to reproduce the entire letter, here are some excerpts."The Oshawa Civic Band have a permanent band room at the rear ofthe Band.shell second to none. Many years ago, the late Col. R. S.McLaughlin gave to the City of Oshawa a band room attached to theBand.shell. At the time, it was for "His " band. ... The gift was accepted bythe City of Oshawa and a by-law was instituted by the city which covereda stipulation placed on the gift by Mr. "Sam ", whereby a municipal bandwould always have a place to call home, a place where they could meet forrehearsal and for the storage of equipment.The room itself is quite large with a 12 'ceiling, and is about 40'square. The room is carpeted, and sound boards are on the walls notcovered by various storage cupboards. Added to this is another roomused as the library and additional storage space.The civic band pay no rent; light, heat and water are provided by theCity of Oshawa as part of our municipal grant structure. The city alsosupplies custodial service as well".Take that back to your local town council when they balk at assistance.On a less encouraging note, the Newmarket Citizens' Band, havinglost its building to arson two years ago, was recently rebuffed once again.The band was recently invited to play at the opening ceremony of amassive new town "Recreation Complex". But when asked aboutrehearsal space for the band in this complex, municipal officials queriedwhy any community musical organization might expect rehearsal spacein a "community recreation complex". Apparently community musicdoesn't fit their definition of recreation.Our second letter was from Brent McLaren, Town Crier for PerthOntario. He wrote to give us his vote for the title of Ontario's oldestband. Here are two salient excerpts.Although there are newspaper articles of performances of a bandBrass - Woodwind -String Instruments - GuitarBuy direct from the DistributorAUTHORIZED DEALER FOR:Armstrong, Artley, Besson, Buffet,Conn, Getzen, Holton, Jupiter,Keilworth, King, Noblet,Selmer, Vito, Yanagisawa~.'/""'!'!!!""'""""""'HARKNETT,Musical Services Ltd.MUSIC BOOKSBEST SELECTIONOF POPULAR&EDUCATIONAL MUSICPiano - Guitar - Instrumental905-477-11412650 John StreetUust North of Steeles)www.harknettmusic.com28 WWW. THEWHOLENOTE.COMBack to Ad Index

existing prior to that as the "Cadets of Temperance Band", there are atleast 5 references to concerts by the Band in 1852 and by early 1853 theband was performing under the name "Perth Brass Band. ""Finally, my research revealed that the Citizens Band had performed asummer concert series on the bandstand in the park every year since1901. last week that meant that their 106th consecutive year of summerconcerts was completed. That in itself is an accomplishment. "Revised WebsiteThe Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Band Association haveinformed us that they now have a new and improved website. Visit themat www.cba-ontario.caPlayers wantedThe North Toronto Community Band is seeking new members,particularly percussion, barisax, bassoon, baritone/euphonium. Theyrehearse Mondays at Lawrence Park Collegiate. Call Gale Bassett at 416-481-1978.The Orillia Wind Ensemble which rehearses Monday nights iscurrently recruiting new members who play any brass or wind instrument,most especially clarinettists. Contact Anna Proctor Administrator705-487 6724 or Roy Menagh Music Director at 705-327-3105.New BandsA full listing of bands will be included in the WholeNoteAnnual BandDirectory scheduled for the October issue. Meanwhile, two new ones:Silverthorn Symphonic Winds rehearses Tuesdays in ThornhillContact: Crystal Mallory 416-271-2389; silverthomsymphonicwinds.caThe Toronto East Concert Band, a Junior concert band (schoolgrades 5 - 8) rehearses Tuesday nights at Sir Alexander MacKenzie Sr.Public School. Contact Doriann Forrester, 416-693-8778Down the RoadSunday, October 14 The Hannaford Street Silver Band's 24th Season"Celebrating Traditions" opens with a concert entitled 'The VillageBand". And Sunday, October 21 The Markham Concert Band presentsThe Amazing Journey, a musical trip through the centuries.scOS--n-,o>'7 .nusicFine quality instruments & accessories to suit any budget- Woodwinds, Brass, Strings & PercussionExpert Instrument Repairs in one of North America'slargest and best-equipped facilitiesComprehensive Band & Orchestra Rental Programwith over 9,000 instruments in inventoryYork Region's Largest Music Schoolserving over 1,200 studentsJazz Notesby Jim GallowaySeptember Song 2007One of the thingswrong with music isthis . There is too muchof it. It has been immenselydevalued as itassails us everywhere inrestaurants, waitingrooms, shopping malls,grocery stores, departmentstores, telephonesystems when you areon hold, cruise ships,airports, doctors' anddentists' offices, and ofcourse, elevators. Theword "Muzak" hasbecome a catchall genericterm for insipid, derivative,repetitive wallpapermusic and youcan throw "smoothjazz" into the mix -usually instrumentalswithout lyrics. We areinundated with auralstimulation and neverwas the phrase, "silenceAntidote to smoothLegendary improviser Anthony Braxtonbrings his boundary-busting woodwindmastery to this year's Guelph Jazz Festivaland Colloquium. Ihe GJF runs September5-9. Visit guelphjaufestival. com for details.is golden" more relevant. And it's not as recent a phenomenon asyou might think. The M-word originates from Muzak HoldingsLLC, a company based in South Carolina, founded back in 1934.Yes, the Trojan horse of music came through the gates long ago.Back to school.In previous columns we have pointed out that Toronto is well servedby having three jazz courses available at University/College level,plus a fourth in nearby Hamilton. They all have, as part of the curriculum,workshops and masterclasses given by established professionals.But there is another player in this game and it's not a college- it's a music store called Long and McQuade and they regularlypresent workshops and clinics. This month, for example, on SundaySeptember 30 at 2:00pm they are presenting a drum clinic givenby Dennis Chambers who has worked with bandleaders such asCONTINUES NEXT PAGEFeaturing some of Toronto's best jazz musicianswith a brief reflection by Jazz Vespers ClergySunday, September 9th • 4:30 p.m.THE JOHN JOHNSON QUARTETcelebrates Cannonball AdderleySunday, September 23rd • 4:30 p.m.THE PAT LABARBERA QUARTET (withKIRK McDONALD) celebrates John ColtraneBack to Ad IndexWWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 29

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