St. Albert composer debuts new work

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PREVIEW

Spring Concert

St. Albert Community Band and Saint City Big Band

Wednesday, June 6 at 7 p.m.

Arden Theatre

5 St. Anne Street

Tickets: $12 adults, $8 students/seniors. Call Arden box office at 780-459-1542

The St. Albert Community Band and the Saint City Big Band under the respective direction of Dr. Angela Schroeder and Brian Demunyck are hosting the traditional end-of-season Spring Concert.

The two bands, with overlapping members, plan an evening of live music spanning movie favourites, contemporary compositions, jazz standards and funky dance tunes.

Of special interest is the world premiere of St. Albert composer Michael McElroy’s first movement of Ode to All That is Pure.

“It’s a celebration of what is true and good. It’s been said we’re in post-truth era. I’d like to think we are not. It’s still important to treat people well and with kindness,” McElroy said.

The composer envisions the three movements as different stages of life. The first movement, written as a fugue, focuses on the energy and guilelessness of a young child.

“I envision it like a young child exploring. My young grandson comes into the office and explores every corner in no particular order. They are so innocent, so curious about life. This fugue plays into that. It starts with an oboe solo and ends with a quartet of flute, oboe, clarinet and trumpet.”

McElroy, well-known throughout St. Albert as pastor at Grace Family Church, dusted off his trumpet and joined the community concert band eight years ago.

The soft-spoken pastor studied trumpet in school and received an undergraduate degree at the University of Texas in Arlington before working on a double master of divinity and choral composition at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary in Mill Valley, California.

“When I came to Canada I had no one to write for, but I did some songwriting and publishing. With new technology, I thought I’d try something larger, so I tackled a symphony,” said McElroy.

The three movements were originally composed for orchestra with a full range of instruments. However, since the concert band lacks strings, McElroy rearranged the string section for saxophones.

“It’s been a real learning process for me. I had to go back and rearrange things several times and Angela was very patient with me.”

McElroy has released several albums and written contemporary Christian music, both congregational singing hymns and performance songs.

But having the first movement of a complete symphony is a personal high-water mark.

“Each year, I’d like to present a movement to the community band. It’s wonderful to have a source I can write for.”

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About Author

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.