Christmas concerts in preparation for the Wallaceburg Concert Band


By Dave Babbitt – Special for Sydenham Current

For my eldest son Ryan’s recent wedding and my daughter-in-law Liza’s wedding, I hired a professional string quartet, a subset of the Sarnia-Port Huron International Symphony Orchestra.

The incredible beauty of the music brought an air of class reminiscent of a time in the past.

It was incredibly beautiful.

I recently accompanied a few members of our Concert Band on a pilgrimage to Toronto to offer my listening and advice in their purchase of new and professional-level wind instruments.

Helping them spend several thousand dollars on new instruments brought me a double portion of joy.

They bought some great sounding high end instruments to play in our band, and I was helping to spend someone else’s money!

Unlike typical pop music “mechanics” who live a life of regularly buying and selling their gear, wind instruments of this caliber are usually lifetime purchases, and I couldn’t be happier for them.

On a recent evening, I had the pleasure of spending time with local musician and alumnus, Jeff Black.

It was fun catching up on a myriad of topics and sharing experiences.

Jeff is an over the top talent and one of the few locals who can pay the bills as a professional musician.

Most locals know Patty Lee, her beautiful voice, her many past recordings and her Christmas specials. I recently had the opportunity to assist Patty in a recording project and let me say, “she still has a great voice”.

Our Wallaceburg Concert Band will be lighting up in mid-September to start preparing new music for the upcoming Christmas season and there are still several talented wind musicians I would love to have with us.

You know who you are.

Please contact me so I can make sure we have an instrument for you.

It might be decades since you last played, but believe me, it’s coming back!

Speaking of Christmas concerts, our Wallaceburg Concert Band has two dates to put on your calendar right now. Our annual Christmas concert at WDSS is scheduled for Saturday, December 3 at 7 p.m., but I’m delighted to share with everyone that we had the opportunity to perform at the Chatham Capitol Theater on Sunday afternoon, December 11 at 3 p.m. h.

This will be an entirely different concert than the one we offered here in Wallaceburg the week before, so I hope you can attend both concerts.

Why are we so excited to perform at the Capitol Theater?

This is our first opportunity to play in a real concert hall with excellent acoustics, on a stage big enough to accommodate us, and with nice seating and pleasant sight lines for our audience.

We appreciate being able to use the Webber Auditorium at WDSS for our concerts, but it’s a gym, not a concert hall.

All potential new members of our Learn to Play Wind Instruments program starting later in September are encouraged to contact me as soon as possible via our website or Facebook page.

Like the many other commodity shortages these days, our regular instrument supplier has informed me that they won’t be seeing new wind instruments until at least January.

Knowing what instruments we will need this fall will greatly help us plan.

In a blatant Courier Press scam, the ‘young man from Elgin Street’ tells me it’s time for Wallaceburg’s many talents to come together and perform a full-fledged musical.

Many of us have the skills to direct, sing, act, choreograph, build sets and sew costumes.

To top it off, our local concert band has the resources to put together an excellent pit band. What we lack is a venue to present such a production, but as Dan White reminds me, ‘the Stratford Festival started in a big tent’.

Who will take care of it?

On our trip to the Long and McQuade flagship store on Bloor Street in Toronto, while my friends were testing out new instruments, I wandered into the flute section.

At the end of the row of many flutes on display was a discontinued model on sale for the modest sum of $27,900!

I told the seller I would take two but he only had one so I had to give up on the deal.

It was two or nothing that I told him.

If you think the flute I mentioned above was expensive, last summer I met a professional bassoonist in McKellar (outside Parry Sound) playing at an outdoor market on weekends.

The bassoon she played only cost $50,000, but her “main axe” cost her over $100,000!

Take these guitarists.

Our band rehearses in the Community Fellowship Baptist Church on Elgin Street.

In early fall and later in spring, we sometimes have to open the windows to stay cool.

At the start of our rehearsals there, I was worried about potential complaints for noise from neighbors when the windows were open, but what a great bunch of neighbors!

Some of our neighbors tell me they sit outside to hear us rehearse when the weather is nice and last week when we had an impromptu rehearsal of ‘Christmas in August’ a neighbor texted me asking me to open the windows!

Thank you to our kind neighbors.

My previous column regarding the deplorable state of music education in our public schools has undoubtedly generated the most commentary of anything I’ve written to date, but unless people take school boards to gone, things won’t change.

I have the idea of ​​offering free mass music lessons to elementary school students, keeping in mind that the Education Act allows students to miss up to “a half day a week” for external music lessons.

Pupils leaving schools in droves each week for music lessons would disrupt the school calendar enormously.

If that were to happen, I’d bet money that the board would take notice and suddenly start providing the quality music education that the program establishes and that every child deserves.


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