Categories: Local News

Strike up the band

This past year, the St. Albert Community Band has pumped out concerts like the Energizer bunny. And although the official season ends next week, there’s no stopping this 65-piece ensemble.

On Saturday, June 13 they gear up for a two-hour gig at the St. Albert Farmers’ Market opening. “Because we’re outdoors, we’re always a bit tense about the weather. But it works out,” says conductor Laurelie Nattress.

And in July they’re off on a mini-tour of northern Alberta — Grande Cache, Grande Prairie, Dunvegan and Mayerthorpe. “The tour will give us a chance to see different communities and to spend some quiet time with each other.”

But at the moment, the eclectic band is focused on Spring Concert, the season ender coming this Wednesday at the Arden Theatre.

Nattress has built a repertoire that combines recent works and older pieces that, although rehearsed, were never showcased. There’s everything from marches and ballads to ragtime and Broadway musicals.

Three works are slated to showcase the talent of several soloists. Anne LePage (bassoon) tackles Alligator Alley, an ode to the Florida alligator endangered by poachers and people. “It has a challenging time signature in five with four representing the four feet and the other one the tail.”

Matthew Thompson (tuba) swings into the Tuba Tiger Rag, a 1920 New Orleans style rhythm commonly heard on street corners. And in a change of pace, Brian Tymko (trumpet) deftly performs the Eriskay Love Lilt, a ballad-like folk song from the Hebrides Islands.

There’s a salute to the Roaring Twenties with a medley of tunes reminiscent of that era — Chicago, Margie, April Showers and Running Wild.

And the closer is Johann Strauss Senior’s Radetzky March, a festive sounding work that was equally popular in ballrooms and military fields. In Viennese tradition, it is still performed as the New Year’s Eve finale. “It has a set of classically oriented variations that start slow and sombre and then slowly move to a happy mood.”

“These musicians are amazing. We only met once a week, yet the quality of music they produce is high level and everyone will have a good time.”


Spring Concert
St. Albert Community Band with St. City Jazz Band
Wednesday, June 3 at 7 p.m.
Arden Theatre
Tickets: $10 adults, $8 students/seniors, $6 children
Band students free when accompanied by adult
Call 780-459-1542

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.