Rodger Weir awarded inaugural Jerry Wennes Award
Saturday, Jun 16, 2012 06:00 am
The St. Albert Community Band and Saint City Big Band joint concert at the Arden Theatre last Wednesday night was an outstanding interplay of heady rhythms with both classical influences and jazz grooves.
But this concert was different from previous events. The community band, in honour of its founding conductor, presented the inaugural Jerry Wennes Award to an exceptional band member for his dedication, leadership and commitment.
Rodger Weir, the percussion section head, who plays in both the community band and the jazz band, was the first recipient.
“I had zero idea I was selected. I would have picked half a dozen other people before me. I’m actually feeling embarrassed. A lot of people have put in a lot of time into this band,” said Weir, an accountant with the federal government.
Band members submitted eight names of nominees. Through a thought-out process of elimination Weir was selected as the clear winner, explained community band president Gerry Buccini.
Active in the bands on and off for 14 years, Weir personifies dedication. He packs equipment in a truck, hauls it to concerts and schedules extra rehearsals if needed. He has been treasurer and last year put together a proposal and negotiated for a set of much-needed tympani. He’s even successfully mediated a dispute or two.
“I like to keep the enthusiasm up. If somebody feels down, you bring them up. It’s reflected in the music and it helps to keep everyone on the same page,” Weir said.
At present, he plays actively in three bands and is an on-call fill for six others. One of his last big gigs was playing in Two One-Way Ticket to Broadway’s concert production of Titanic in April 2012 at Winspear Centre.
While Weir gets to take home an acrylic statuette, the main plaque will reside in the St. Albert Community Band showcase at the Arden Theatre lobby.
The musical part of the concert was similar to finding a gold nugget in a rock pile. Under the direction of Dr. Angela Schroeder, the St. Albert Community Band is as far from a group of rusty amateur musicians as you can get. Their vibrant sound has symphonic quality that surpasses most local area bands of the same ranking and makes clear how music can be truly perfected and loved.
The 18-piece Saint City Big Band once again displayed their incredible chops and delivered an hour of unbeatable rhythms and jazz standards from a wide range of composers including Gordon Goodwin, Dave Rivello, Erik Moralis and Peter Blair.