8 years ago

Volume 19 Issue 1 - September 2013

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  • September
  • Jazz
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  • Guelph

Beat by Beat |

Beat by Beat | BandstandHats Off toBrunette and tothe Whitby BrassAccording to my calendar summer is almost over. However, inmy experience, it tried to start and then gave up some weeksago. On the band scene my experience is quite similar. I hadhoped to hear from quite a number of bands telling of their activitiesover the summer months when TheWholeNote was taking abreather. With a couple of notable exceptions, there was a deafeningsilence from the bands regarding their summer programming. If youare a memberof a band, tellus about youractivities.Whether theyare highlights ofrecent events orannouncementsof ones comingup, we andother readersare interested.Having saidthat, we reallyprefer a simplerelease in theform of an MSWord documentattached to anJack MACQUARRIEWhitby Brass Band, Tryingto dig for gemsof informationin a multi-layered, colourful website, no matter how attractive,frequently yields little or no useful information.We do know that there were many series of regular concerts atVictoria Park in Milton, at the Unionville Millennium Bandstand, theOrillia Aqua Theatre and other locations. Unfortunately, we have noanecdotes to report.In past issues of this column the topic of programming, and specificallytheme programming, has received some attention. In one casea band director admitted to settling for second rate music in orderto adhere slavishly to a selected theme. This year it is a pleasure toreport on a themed program, with a difference, which really worked.The Uxbridge Community Concert Band’s director Steffan Brunetteproduced a well-researched themed program this year which set anew standard. The program was simply titled “The Elements.”In recent years modern science revealed to us how all matter onearth was composed of combinations of elements. In our elementaryscience classes we learned about the periodic table of elements andhow they are combined to form all of the physical materials which weencounter in our daily lives. However in ancient times the perceptionwas very different. The belief was that everything known in the worldwas made up of only four elements: earth, wind, water and fire. Theseconcepts were inspired by natural observation of the phases of matter.Almost since the earliest forms of written music, composers havewritten works to convey emotions induced by human encounters withthose four elements.This concert took the audience on a musical journey through timewith a broad range of musical impressions from those of GeorgeFrideric Handel in the 1600s to works of composers in the 21st century.In addition to Handel’s Water Music and his Music from the RoyalFireworks, there was Manuel de Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance, excerptsfrom Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and several works written withinthe past ten years. There was an interesting adaptation of the traditionalAfrican-American spiritual, Wade In The Water, by none otherthan Professor Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork III. There was even amusical impression of the volcanic eruption of Mazama in the state ofOregon that occurred over 7,000 years ago. It was a program that wasmusically varied, tasteful and kept the audience interested. Full marksgo to Steffan Brunette.One of the oldest brass bands in Canada, the Whitby Brass Band,is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The official celebrationevent will take place in Whitby, Friday September 27. Thatwill be followed by a special anniversaryconcert on Saturday,September 28. Some monthsago, as a part of their anniversarycelebrations, theband sponsored a competitionfor young musiciansWhitby Brass Band, compose a concert march to commemorate this anniversary. Firstplace went to Abundance by Marcus Venables of Toronto, second placeto Alumnus by Gerry Murphy Jr. of Oshawa, third place to Legacy byKristie Hunter of Uxbridge and fourth place to Heydenshore March bySean Breen of Markham.In Cobourg there is celebration and there is grief. Once again thisyear, the Concert Band of Cobourg will be travelling to Plattsburgh,New York, in their role as the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal MarineAssociation. However, this year, their longtime drum major, TomMacMillan, will not be heading the parade. Tom succumbed to cancerin mid-August. Tom MacMillan joined the Concert Band of Cobourgover 30 years ago as its drum major and led the band in every significantparade since then. In the words of Paul Storms, director of music:“He was a big huge part, and he was the centrepiece of the band ineverything we did over the last 30 years. He put the band on themap with his looks and his proud walk. Every time we did tattoos orparades, once he called the band to attention you could see him in hisglory and how proud he was to lead us, and how proud we were tohave him lead us.”MacMillan retired from the Ontario Provincial Police in 1993, butit was his involvement with the citizens of Cobourg that made himshine. Over the years he won many awards from community serviceclubs, the town of Cobourg and the province of Ontario. From his bluetown crier uniform complete with tiny rimmed glasses, to the whitebeard he wore when playing the role of Santa, | continued on page 3934 | September 1 – October 7, 2013

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