Categories: Entertainment

Mission Hill Brass and Capital City Big Band join forces

It’s a “Big Band” Christmas
Mission Hill Brass and Capital City Big Band
Sunday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.
St. Albert United Church
20 Green Grove Dr.
Tickets: $20 at door. Children under 12 free.

The Christmas spirit is set to echo through St. Albert United Church as Mission Hill Brass Band and Capital City Big Band present It’s a “Big Band” Christmas, their seasonal concert on Sunday, Dec. 17.

Mission Hill Brass’ music director, Daniel Skepple, and Capital City Big Band’s music director, J.F. Picard, have known each other for more than 30 years.

“We met in the Canadian Forces school of music in 1985,” said Skepple. Both spent years travelling across Canada performing with different groups. But both musicians eventually landed in Edmonton.

Coincidentally, three musicians from Mission Hill – Tony Robbins (trumpet), Karen McGale Connelly (sax) and Fenton Corey (trombone) – also rehearse with Capital City.

“We had a lot of people ask if we could do something with the big band,” Skepple added.

During the concert, listeners can expect to hear new and exciting seasonal arrangements as well as older scores with fresh instrumentation.

The 30-member Mission Hill British-style brass band kicks off the concert with the breezy reggae tune, Caribbean Christmas, followed by Dean Goffin’s spiritual piece Light of the World, a Salvation Army classic.

The brass band also performs Marcus Venables’ I Will Proclaim, a piece written specifically for Mission Hill Brass.

“It’s a worship piece. It has a slow, majestic opening and finishes off with an upbeat tempo.”

Capital City Big Band juxtaposes Mission Hill’s instrumentals with diverse versions of Christmas. In this case, their two jazzier sets cover soul and rhythm and blues arrangements.

Picard will lead the 20-member jazz band through various tunes ranging from Deck the Halls, Winter Wonderland and All the Things You Are to A Few Good Men, Barnburner and Basically Blues.

Mission Hill comes full circle with The Wonder of Christmas, Christmas Sing Along II and I Will Follow Him, a glorious upbeat tune that Whoopi Goldberg popularized in the 1992 American musical comedy Sister Act.

“We’re having a trombone trio perform it.”

Closing the concert is Jeff Christmas’ arrangement for Carol of the Bells.

“It’s fast. It’s a full big band thing. It’s very triumphant and ends very quietly. In this concert we’re not doing anything heavy or different. We’re going to try and keep it light and fun.”


Anna Borowiecki :Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.