Sturgeon Comp musicians prepare for festival season
Concert previews works for upcoming adjudication
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 09, 2011 06:00 am
Sturgeon Composite High Festival Concert
Thursday, March 10 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $5. Call 780-973-3301; also available at the door.
A fair cross-section of students from Sturgeon Composite High School’s music program can’t wait to wing it to Cuba during spring break.
It’s all part of a triumphant music exchange that started 18 months ago when the school obtained a $20,000 government grant to bring in Grammy winner Oscar Valdés, founder of Cuba’s most important Latin band Irakere, to mentor students during a one-week workshop.
Bomba!’s Mario Allende, who was also part of the weeklong workshop, will travel to Cuba with the students. “He’ll be there for language assistance. It’ll make life easier. He knows the artists and he will be our liaison. He can speak to them in where we are in our journey in learning about their culture,” says Sturgeon music director Darwin Krips.
About 50 students will travel to various cities including Havana, Veradero and Santa Clara performing public concerts and studying at music workshops with Valdez and Liván Morejón.
But just before they fly off to the Caribbean island country’s hotbed of Latin music, they will host a test concert at the Arden Theatre tomorrow evening.
Not only will some of the tunes be played at concerts in Cuba, but also the bulk of the repertoire is slated for performances at local music festivals scheduled within the next two months — the Choral Festival, Alberta International Band Festival and the Rotary Music Festival.
One tune the 72-member mixed concert choir has rehearsed is Es Tu Spiritus de Dios, a song of worship. “It’s gorgeous. It sounds like it has a flamenco feel. It has this lyrical feel, but you hear the choir making their voices sound like guitar and bass.”
The 65-musician concert band tackles Gilgamesh, based on the oldest known story in the world, and Introduction and Festiva. “It’s very energetic. You get to hear strength in all sections. It has a very powerful middle section that sounds like a volcano erupting and then it’s quiet.”
The smaller 20-member vocal jazz choir sings an arrangement of Bumblebee. “It’s extremely challenging. It sounds like bees working busily and there’s a beautiful message.”
And finally the jazz band of 20 musicians plays the salsa chart Mambo Loops and Riverscape, a modern jazz piece. “It has a flow like a river. It starts with a triangle and goes from there quietly layering one instrument on top of another. The rhythmic energy is great and there are lots of melodic lines. It’s a very gentle piece, subtle in everything it does.”
“It’s a great showcase concert. It will be a treat for the audience to see so much in the concert.