By Dave Babbitt – Special for Sydenham Current
Although my life has long been tied to the arts, I’ve also made a concerted effort not to make my columns just a billboard for my personal involvement in the local arts scene, but this week you’re in for a shameless promotion .
On March 22, our Wallaceburg Concert Band met for the first time in just over two years.
Without exaggeration, I was terrified of what I might hear on that first night back.
I’ve made it very clear in the past that playing any instrument is a physical skill and knowing most hadn’t even picked up their instrument since we closed, it didn’t look pretty.
I kept my expectations low but was extremely surprised at how quickly things started to gel again.
I felt right away it was imperative to set a date for a gig because setting a goal makes our weekly rehearsals more useful.
We typically hold our spring concert in early June and then take a break for the summer, but as Dan mentioned a few weeks ago, I was worried about both the COVID issue ongoing which reduces our typical loyal attendance and again, to get the chops back in shape after such a long layoff.
For these reasons, I have chosen the last possible Sunday afternoon in June to host our first post-COVID concert.
I am happy to report that things are on track for our wonderful group of musicians to peak at the perfect time and we hope that our loyal supporters will join us on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at 3 p.m. at Crothers Park for our program that we titled “Summer Dreams”, a take off from our YouTube video, “A Million Dreams”.
I didn’t hide my disdain for outdoor concerts but this time there is no alternative… so outdoors!
Our original plans were to offer an entire afternoon of bands of different types of music in a festival atmosphere as a big post-COVID ‘welcome’, but the festival funding we applied for was turned down, so we’re going go it alone.
Bands that have operated for many years continually return to band scores they have played in the past as this reduces rehearsal time and the bandleader has the advantage of knowing what has been received well in the past.
So far in our young lives, we haven’t rehearsed any band scores as we continue to build our library and repertoire.
However, in the lineup for THIS concert, I have released some scores that were crowd favorites from past concerts as well as some brand new scores.
We even present a score that we had ordered especially for us!
My sole focus in programming this time around has been to choose music that is familiar to the masses.
The litmus test for our music is the musicians themselves. If they like to play it, I know our audience will like to listen to it and this concert will be FUN!
If you are a follower of our Facebook page, I had fun with our readers regarding the concert.
I don’t usually take my hat off to what we’ll be performing at our gigs, but every few days I’ll post hints on our Facebook page as to what we’ll be playing.
By June 26, you will be able to reconstitute our entire concert.
If you’re not part of our Facebook community, be sure to join us as this is where we share updates on what’s happening now and what’s on the horizon.
In other group news, we recently hosted an information night for potential new members and I’m happy to say that this fall we will be joined by several new faces and it’s always exciting when we gain new members. .
If you are someone who has played an instrument before and would like to pick it up, please contact me through our WCB website (wallaceburgconcertband.ca) or our Facebook page, because we have to plan all the instruments we might need for the fall.
Also, if you have NEVER played a wind instrument and would like to learn, please contact me by the end of June.
I’d like to welcome an amazing musician who we’re excited to be joining us for our June concert!
Gavin Warren is new to our community as his parents recently moved to Wallaceburg.
Gavin is an incredible clarinet talent, about to enter his final year at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music as a performance major.
For those unfamiliar with the terminology, those studying music at the university level have two streams available to them, education and performance.
Although it takes an incredible level of talent to earn a degree in education, it is a higher level and much more difficult to be accepted as a performance major.
Performance majors are those who generally continue their life as a professional musician.
Even during his “off-season months” of summer, Gavin trains between 4 and 8 hours a day!
While the name may not mean much to the locals of Wallaceburg, the fact that Gavin studied with renowned clarinetist Peter Stoll is testament to his abilities as a clarinetist.
Gavin is only in Wallaceburg for the summer but has graciously offered to sit down with us for our June 26 concert and we are honored that he has offered to do so.
Please come out and welcome Gavin to Wallaceburg.
Gavin will also join the Chatham Concert Band for their regular Wednesday night concert series at Tecumseh Park this summer.
By the way, Gavin contacted us through our WCB website which he says is one of the best sites he has seen in his online search for summer play opportunities.
For this, I would like to express our deepest thanks to Sonya Louzon, who designed and maintains our WCB website.
If you’ve never done so, please take a moment to visit our website at wallaceburgconcertband.ca.