Don Clark conducting the combined Creston

Don Clark conducting the combined Creston

Four east and west Kootenay community bands join for festival in Riondel

Web Lead

The Many Bays Community Band hosted a community band festival in Riondel on June 21 and 22, and it was a phenomenal success!.

This band festival was an unusual one. At most festivals, the bands perform for each other; at this one, the musicians all played together. Over 70 musicians came to play piccolo, flute, clarinet, saxophone (alto, tenor, baritone), French horn, trombone, trumpet, euphonium, tuba, timpani and all the other percussion instruments. Co-chairs Don Clark and Deberah Shears had some sleepless moments wondering how and if it would all work.

On the Saturday morning, all the musicians were seated in the Riondel Community Centre auditorium, ready to play at 9:15 a.m. Their “job” was to follow four different conductors, know the music for the 12 compositions selected and blend with all the other musicians — that is quite an expectation.

Kimberley conductor Ian Ferrie was to start by tuning and warming them up. Very quietly, they waited together for those very first notes. The sound was incredible and magnificent! Within minutes, the excitement of what was to come electrified the musical space. The weekend was a very emotional one for those musicians who had never played in a fully orchestrated concert band before.

The festival ended with a free public concert to showcase the musicians’ hard work over the weekend. The audience filled the space left, and by their applause and standing ovation, all knew that they were as moved by the music as the players. The program was varied: marches to popular to classical, ending with the 1812 Overture.

The musicians had some social time during the weekend that included a Friday night jam session at Bob’s Bar and Grill, and meals with lively conversation at Dutch Harbour Camp in a perfect, beautiful Kootenay Lake setting. Before the weekend was over, the other bands were talking about hosting this band festival next year.

Congratulations to Ian Ferrie and his Kimberley Community Band, Monte Anderson and his Creston Community Band, Gail Elder and his Slocan Valley Community Band, and Don Clark and his Many Bays Community Band. The Many Bays Community Band did an excellent job of organizing and hosting the first community band festival.

The event was sponsored by the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Columbia Basin Trust, Nelson and District Credit Union and the BC Band Association.