As we're coming to the end of another school year, there are several local band directors who want to keep the sound of music alive for band students, especially after graduation.
Organizing a community concert band has been in the works, even before the pandemic of the past two years and spokesperson Mark Loewen says, now was just the right time to make it happen.
“We’re hearing that in Steinbach there are lots of people who are asking about it, who have asked about it or there are people who are interested saying, ‘Why don’t you have a community band, I’d like to keep playing?“
Loewen continues, speaking from a teacher's point of view, “We’ve always thought a good marker for success in our programs would be if students would continue being musicians, not necessarily professional but amateur musicians, after their time in high school. I've heard of many students who drop their instruments or throw their saxophone under the bed and it collects dust for the next 10 years. Well, I don’t feel good about that.” He says, “if we get people playing after high school then I think that’s a good marker for success for what we’re doing in the first place.”
The band directors who will be involved in this program are coming from middle years and high schools in southeastern Manitoba, “So we're talking music teachers from Kleefeld, Blumenort, Steinbach, even Niverville and Grunthal that are interested in contributing to this, because this cannot be a one-person show, it has to be a team effort.”
Loewen notes, “These people are putting their talents and their skills into this and we have a lot of unity and folks are on board and they want to contribute to this on that leadership level.”
Continuing excitedly, Loewen says that because they are all talented musicians, they will be able to have sectional rehearsals for participants who feel like they’re a bit rusty, so one of these band directors will lead that group. “We’ll do some teaching, we'll help you get back in shape. We’ve got a lot of resources now to do that. I think we have a pretty winning combination of people that can pull this off. So, that's where the kernel of motivation is coming from.”
Loewen invites those individuals who are currently playing an instrument as well as those individuals who wish they were still playing and haven’t had an opportunity. "And perhaps yes, they're desperately out of shape and they've forgotten their fingerings and all that stuff, well, we want to help them get back into shape and we will because that's part of our mandate.”
So whether you are an adult who loved playing their band instrument in school but have laid it aside or you’re a student that wants to continue playing outside of their band programs or even an advanced middle-school student, Loewen says you are welcome to join them. He continues, “And then there's the high school student that maybe can't fit band into their schedule or maybe they had to drop band for some reason or maybe they just want to play more than what they are given in class, here’s your chance to join the community concert band.”
Loewen says, there are really no excuses not to join, “If somebody is feeling as though they just can't play anymore, or they’re thinking ‘I'm not very good anymore I'm too rusty', let's not let that be something that keeps you away. Come anyway and try.”
The community concert band will be rehearsing one night a week starting halfway through September 2022 with concerts scheduled in the future.
Besides SRSS Band Instructor Mark Loewen, other directors include Toban Janzen (CMS), Markus Goertzen (SMS), Keira Wychnenka (Mitchell MS) and Murray and Crystal Lawrance (local legends).
“We want to create a community of music lovers who want to play quality music together in a concert band format.” - Mark Loewen
Click the link for more details on the Southeast Community Concert Band.