Penticton band students honoured for invite to MusicFest Canada

Penticton concert band students will be joining 10,000 others from across the country to celebrate excellence in musical performance.

Penticton concert band students will be joining 10,000 others from across the country to celebrate excellence in musical performance.

“It’s really, really exciting. This is a huge event for us and being invited is a rare opportunity,” said Chelsea Maxted, a grade 10 student at Princess Margaret Secondary School who plays clarinet, baritone and tenor saxophone. “I hope to become a better player and I look forward to hearing the critiques of our playing because it will help us improve. To be able to listen to other groups is also exciting because then we can see what other students are up to across Canada.”

The Princess Margaret Junior Concert Band and the combined Princess Margaret and Penticton Secondary School Senior Concert Band were each awarded a nomination to attend MusicFest Canada in Richmond May 12 to 15. The festival is a major force in the development of the stage band, vocal and concert band in Canadian high schools and universities.

MusicFest is an invitation only event where outstanding ensembles had to compete from one of the affiliated regional festivals or through a festival chairman for the right to attend. The Penticton students won their berth through the Okanagan Valley Concert Band Regional Festival held in March at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

The festival involves performances, clinics and concerts from internationally acclaimed groups. The three selections the Penticton musicians will play are challenging and will be critiqued to a national standard.

Princess Margaret Secondary School music instructor Don Grant said the whole experience has been a great learning and confidence building opportunity for the students.

“The opportunity to hear what other kids in their age group are doing is neat. There will be lots of workshops, great concerts and it is a week long celebration of music. We want to get as much out of it as we can,” said Grant.

The groups include 73 music students from both secondary schools under the direction of music teachers Grant and Justin Glibbery. For the combined district concert band it speaks to the commitment of the students said Grant.

“We don’t often get a chance to rehearse together, but the kids have been working really hard and enjoying the challenging music. There is also no magic bank paying for this so we have done a lot of fundraising and almost all of our kids will be attending which is great,” said Grant.

Sending the students doesn’t come cheap, often the festival is held in eastern Canada and the costs are too high for Penticton students to go. Students, along with teachers and parents, are embarking on various fundraising initiatives to help bring down the costs to travel to the Lower Mainland.

On Saturday they are hosting a pub night at the Copper Mug Pub. Doors open at 6 p.m. and there will be draws, a silent auction and live music from Random Act featuring Glibbery, Rann Berry, Scott Gamble and Mike Fic. Tickets are $20, available at the Copper Mug, Princess Margaret and Penticton Secondary music departments, and include a roast beef dinner and a drink. The students are also holding a fridge and wine draw. Tickets are available at the Copper Mug and the draw will take place on Saturday.

Both concert bands will also be performing at Wiltse and Carmi Elementary Schools on May 12.