With the successful inaugural year of the Southeast Community Concert Band behind them, Director Mark Loewen is excited about year two.
“We've just had so many surprises come out of year one, and with all of the excitement and successes of year one, it's hard to believe that that all happened. And now we just wonder how are we going to top that? Well, I guess the idea is not to top it, but we just want to keep the keep the train moving and try to have some meaningful time making music together as a community again.”
Loewen notes one of the successes coming out of year one is the fact that so many of the band members’ need for community was met. He says that getting together once a week was a way of healing for them.
"I think, I can maybe say from the emotional and the mental trauma that so many of us went through in COVID, that we were able bring healing for a lot of people.”
Loewen notes another success coming out of last year, is being able to perform after a few short rehearsals together and sound really good.
“I think the one thing that surprised us the most was the first concert, where we played at the mall at Christmas, and we had that sing along and we had hundreds of people show up. We clogged up the mall for like an hour and a half. It was just fun to sing along and bring Christmas cheer.”
As for what’s ahead for this year, Loewen says they’ve added about 8 new musicians including a couple of Oboists.
“We have an oboe section now, which is kind of funny, because we didn't have any oboe players last year, we couldn't round any up. and then all of a sudden we have two, so we have a full-fledged oboe section, which is kind of exciting actually, because it actually adds a really distinctive tone to the band, and colour to the group.”
Loewen is also pleased to have “legit percussion section”.
He expects each of the musicians who are returning will come with more confidence than when they started last year.
“I'm very excited about where we're going to go this year. I think it will be quite something, actually. Because it also means we can introduce music that will be a little tougher or a little bit more interesting, and yeah, it'll be fun. It'll be a lot of fun.”
Loewen notes they expect the band to consist of 63 musicians, with the same directors as last year.
“So, I'm going to be sharing the podium mostly with Mr. Murray Lawrence. Then we also have a number of other middle school band directors.”
Including Tobin Janzen and Elizabeth Janzen from CMS, Marcus Goertzen from SMS, Katherine Charles from Kleefeld, Keira Wychnenka from Mitchell Middle School and Crystal Lawrence.
Loewen gives a rundown of what they’ll be expecting of their wind, brass and percussion musicians.
“We practice once a week, Thursday nights in SRSS Gold Room from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, sometimes a little bit later, the evening goes by so quickly, it's hard to shut down at 9.”
He continues saying that all music will be provided. Loewen says, that if an individual wants to play in the band but doesn’t have access to an instrument, they may be able to get one for them.
There are two sessions, September to December 2023 with a Christmas Concert, and then from January to April 2024, with a spring concert.
“So yeah, it's action-packed and lots of fun at the beginning of the year. We'll do sectional rehearsal, we'll work on skills, and then we gradually work our way, more and more, into the music."
Loewen says for individuals who are interested in joining the Southeast Concert Band, can visit their website, fill out the form and then,
“We'll get in contact with you and then we can have the music ready for you and we can discuss instruments and all that kind of things. So, just showing up might not be a good idea. We'd like to get to know you a little bit before that.”
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