Wallaceburg Concert Band gearing up for spring concert

By Dave Babbitt – Special to the Sydenham Current

Back in October when our band was madly preparing for our Christmas concerts, I had to begin searching for new material for our Spring concert which involved listening to several hundred demo recordings.

I was a distraction that I did not need at the time but was cognizant of time constraints.

I needed to choose the new music, gather the requisite order information (i.e. title, arranger, and publishing company) to send to our Music Librarian, who then needed to order the scores so that hopefully, they would arrive by early January when we would resume rehearsals after our short-lived Christmas Break.

I was also hoping to introduce a brand-new type of early Spring concert in mid-April.

It was to be a type of material that we have not presented to-date.

So far, our band has largely presented Christmas music and material from the worlds of film, Broadway, and pop music.

But I believe that we are missing an entirely different audience that doesn’t come to our concerts that I’d like to win-over.

We haven’t really tapped into the world of “classical” music, sacred music, nor the huge catalogue of material written specifically for concert bands.

I’d also like to feature the pipe organ and a few baroque brass ensemble-organ selections, as well as brass fanfares.

Readers will be familiar with my love of the pipe organ, and I think the King of Musical Instruments needs to be featured in something other than simple hymn accompaniments.

It needs to not only be heard but seen as well.

There are several hurdles or potential hurdles that this type of concert presents me with, however.

The first hurdle is finding a location to present such a concert.

My plans necessitate the use of a church with a functioning pipe organ, (not an electronic organ however) but I’ve not had any luck locally securing permission to do so despite my quest that began last October.

While our first loyalty is to our local population that supports us, being unable to find a local facility, we decided to attempt to pursue the use of St. Andrew’s United Church in Chatham with it’s powerful Cassavant Fréres pipe organ (home of the “Saturdays at 7” Concert Series).

This is where my second hurdle reared its ugly head.

The problem is finding a location large enough to accommodate our band.

The Music Director at St. Andrew’s doesn’t think we will fit on their stage.

So, my search continues.

Since our band members had April 13 on their calendars for this special concert since early January, with no place to play, I decided to advance our Spring concert from late May to this April 13 date.

In the meantime, I’ll continue my quest to find a location for my proposed “church” concert as I think it worth pursuing.

My next concern is finding an audience for this type of material that I’d like to present for the first time.

My many years of experience in serving on Arts Council has demonstrated just how difficult it is to attract a Wallaceburg audience for something that isn’t “mainstream”.

Hopefully we can… IF we ever have the opportunity to present this concert, as I really want to demonstrate the versatility of our band and some fantastic music that we’ve worked on in fits and starts.

So, this is where our upcoming “Rock, Roll and Remember” concert comes in.

We were already working on a bit of this material for our Spring concert that was originally scheduled for May 25 but had to change direction quickly and cross our fingers that all the new music would arrive in time for the now advanced April 13 date.

All but one selection has arrived, and I’m happy to report that the band has responded in a most amazing way, as they always do.

With such a shortened preparation cycle the pressure is great, but we’ll be ready.

I promise.

If the time of year proves to be a good one, we’ll likely advance our Spring concert to April from now on.

With no boating, beach parties, or crop planting yet at that time of year, we’re hoping you will join us for easily, the most fun concert we have ever presented.

In the meantime, don’t forget the Arts Council presents Gavin Warren in another amazing clarinet recital on Friday March 1 st at the Christian Reformed Church.

Tickets for “Baroque Masterpieces” (my personal favourite era) are $20 and available at the door or online at gavinwarrenclarinet.com.

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