On Saturday I interrupted my recent obsession with live theatre to attend a concert of Festival City Winds. The concert, entitled Winter Winds, included performances by all four ensembles in the community band association, from the Novice band to the Advanced band.
Very clever selection of short pieces, or single movements from long pieces, allowed all four bands to demonstrate their technique and feel for a variety of musical genres: marches, folksongs, famous pieces like an arrangement of Holst’s “The Planets” by the Novice band, and interesting contemporary compositions like Brant Karrick’s “They Shall Run and Be Free”, played by the Advanced band.
I haven’t really listened to band music much in years, since being a high school clarinetist and then listening to marching band entertainment at football games at an American university. The Festival City musicians were well-prepared, focused, and a delight to watch and to listen to. The atrium space at Concordia University College worked surprisingly well, with the musicians in front of a large curved window-wall, and the audience on chairs on the floor, on carpeted risers to one side, and around a second-floor mezzanine. A photographer in the audience behind me probably did not realise that although his flash illumination was turned off, the red lights that flashed every time he took a picture were reflected in the window in a distracting way. The conductors were welcoming and made the music accessible, explaining a little bit about the context of each piece and what to listen for.
The Festival City Winds Music Society offers instrument instruction for adult beginners or those who want to start again, as well as the four performance bands. They accept new participants in January as well as in the fall. They will have another public concert on Saturday May 25th, 2013.