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The Wallaceburg and District Council for the Art’s, in co-operation with the Lambton –Kent District School Board, are pleased to announce a new local music initiative for the Wallaceburg area.

This initiative will give experienced local musicians the opportunity to use their skills, former musicians the opportunity to resurrect their skills, and anyone who would like to learn to play, the opportunity to receive free instruction.

The Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts has made an agreement with the Lambton-Kent District School Board for rehearsal space and for the use of the musical instruments at WDSS. The program will be based in room 184 at Wallaceburg District Secondary School. The program will be operated through the Wallaceburg and District Council for the Arts and is open to anyone in the area that is passionate about music.

Recently retired WDSS Music Teacher Dave Babbitt has volunteered to lead the effort in the role of Music Director.

“I can’t wait to hear the music room come back to life and share the sense of accomplishment that playing in a band brings. It’s truly the ultimate team sport,” said Babbitt.

Dave welcomes input from the community and from other musicians and instructors in order to get the community music program started. The details of how the program will operate are still being formulated but initial thoughts are that it will start by being comprised of two different groups: A Concert Band consisting of musicians with both recent and previous experience, and an instructional program for beginners and those with minimal playing experience. The instructional program will serve to provide a feeder system for the Concert Band.

These initiatives will provide the ideal opportunity for those who may have studied music years ago to resurrect their skills. It will also act as the perfect opportunity for anyone who has ever wished they had learned to play a musical instrument, to receive free instruction.

Dave Babbitt is not simply interested in forming a band – he wants to build an organization. For this he will require participants and volunteers, not only musicians and instructors, but assistance in many different roles that do not involve musicianship.

“If I can give back even a fraction of what music has given me, there will be some very happy people,” Babbitt said.

“This community has an enviable music history and I don’t want it to become a footnote of our past. I have this strange sense that the giants of our musical past such as Von Ayres and Bob Jacks have passed the musical torch to me and that I have a responsibility to try and keep it burning.”

The long-time local music teacher wants the community to know this isn’t just about local history. It’s about looking to the future.

“This isn’t just about digging up musicians of the past, this equally about training the next generation of musicians. I’m really hoping that the myriad of people who have said to me through the years that they always wished they had learned to play an instrument will seize this opportunity. It’s not too late and I’d love nothing better than to see kids sitting beside seniors helping each other along.”

An organizational meeting will be held at WDSS on Monday April 25th and another on Thursday April 28th. Both meetings will be held in room 184 – use the Lorne Street entrance to the school and follow the signs. Both meetings will be held at 7:00 pm. More detailed information will be presented at this time as well as the opportunity for input.

Current musicians, past experienced musicians and those interested in learning to play are invited. Seniors and young people are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you do not play or have never played an instrument you are welcome to attend. Anyone who is willing to volunteer with music instruction or leadership are encouraged to attend. We will need community support to help the organization get started – community volunteers are invited to attend. For further information, contact Dave Babbitt at 519-627-9803 or Dave Elliott at 519-809-2224 or on the Arts Council’s Facebook page.

If you have musical instruments in your home that are not being used – the Arts Council would encourage you to consider donating these to Wallaceburg’s New Music Program. Appraisal and Tax Receipt information will be rolled out as the program gets started.

Wallaceburg has a rich band tradition – bands such as the Wallaceburg Kiltie Band, Wallaceburg Community Band, the Bob Jack’s Orchestra, New Horizon’s Band and The Brass Factory. The goal of the community music program is to re-visit our musical past and build a foundation for a bright musical future for our community. Our community has great musical foundations in all genres of music – it is our goal to re-ignite the love for music in our community for generations to come.

Information about The Wallaceburg and District Arts Council

The goal of Wallaceburg & District Council for the Arts is to stimulate an awareness and an appreciation for the Arts in Wallaceburg & the surrounding district. The Wallaceburg & District Council for the Arts is a Registered Charity and Not for Profit Corporation.

Information about Lambton Kent District School Board

The Lambton Kent District School Board provides educational services to more than 22,000 students in 64 elementary and secondary schools. Lambton and Kent County are made up of numerous small towns and communities situated in Southwestern Ontario, a geographic area surrounded by the Great Lakes.

Information about Dave Babbitt

Dave Babbitt is the recently retired instrumental music teacher at Wallaceburg District Secondary School. He has taught music for over 30 years. Dave is an accomplished trumpet player and band leader who has lead a number of community bands – most notably The Brass Factory Band.


– Nathan Vercauteren File Photo