Categories: Entertainment

The well-polished Mission Hill Brass hits town

Soprano Dayna Curtis is the special guest artist at Mission Hill Brass Band's season opener on Sunday

To some, brass bands represent a nostalgic cliché. For others, the vast range of melodies can move like no other.

One brass band that defied the odds starting from nothing and growing into a regional powerhouse is Mission Hill Brass Band, now celebrating its twelfth season.

Tomorrow afternoon, the band kicks off its concert season with The Winds of Fall, a nod to the changing seasons and the 27-piece band’s strengthening musicality.

In addition to rehearsing concerts, Mission Hill is also hosting the Prairie Brass Band Festival on May 12 and 13.

“We were looking at St. Albert but couldn’t find a venue so it will be in Edmonton,” said music director Daniel Skepple.

Bands are very fluid and every year there is a bit of attrition. Last season, no players moved on, however four new musicians joined the clan.

Julien Simard was added as the second trombone. Donna Aab came in on the euphonium. Marvin Soderberg and Jonathan Page are both new cornet players.

St. Albert United Church is the choice of venue where their brass-band devotees enjoy comfortable afternoon concerts.

Loud and raucous, the ensemble is a splendid sonic tornado of sorts that has rehearsed a blend of never-before performed charts alongside crowd favourites.

The program opens with John Williams’ crisp Olympic Fanfare and Theme.

“It was part of the 1984 Olympics and now a standard theme for all the Olympics. It’s not long, but it’s quite dramatic and technically demanding.”

The band is also putting their finishing polish on James Horner and Will Jennings’ My Heart Will Go On, Eric Ball’s Star Lake and the Irish traditional Erin Shore.

By way of adding interest to the mix, Skepple also invited St. Albert soprano Dayna Curtis to perform.

“I’ve known Dayna for quite a while and we’ve done a lot of work in music on the spiritual level. She has a lovely voice and is an outstanding piano player,” Skepple noted.

Singing in church choirs as a youngster, Curtis later studied voice at Memorial College winning several awards along the way.

A mother of three, she is currently the Community Ministries Coordinator at The Salvation Army Castledowns church and recently started a community choir.

Her audience-friendly repertoire ranges from Can You Feel the Love Tonight and You Raise Me Up to What a Wonderful World and Danny Boy.

“This is a popsy concert and you get to hear more of the brass band’s lushness.”

Tickets are available at the door.


The Winds of Fall
Mission Hill Brass Band
Special guest vocalist Dayna Curtis
Sunday, Oct. 30 at 3 p.m.
St. Albert United Church
20 Green Grove Dr.
Admission: $20 Children under 12 free

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.