Bands get Moose Jaw experience

Times-Herald Staff
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Moose Jaw Band and Choral Festival host bands from prairie provinces

Our city and province remind two Winnipeg students of a country of old.

Lynda Thompson, director of the John Pritchard School Grade 9 Concert Band conducts the band on Wednesday morning at the Mae Wilson Theatre.

"I thought it was beautiful with the hills and all the horses around," said Sydney, a french horn player in the John Pritchard School Grade 9 Band. "It seems peaceful. When you get here it looks like it's from the old year. It's just beautiful."

Alasdair, a trumpet player from the Winnipeg band, compared the city to New Orleans, because of the city's little shops and historic downtown.

The John Pritchard School Grade 9 Band are one of 70 bands in Moose Jaw this week for the 65th Moose Jaw Band & Choral Festival. It's the first time the school has attended the festival and is a new experience for the kids said, Jeff McPherson, director of the Grade 9 Jazz Band.

The two bands performed on Wednesday in the non-competitive formated festival and had 45-minute workshops with two clinicians after their performances.

"I think that's best for our age group," said Mcpherson about the format. "Having junior high students it's way better for them to come and have a non-competitive adjudication and benefit musically, rather than be worried about getting marks and stars."

Clinician Brent Ghiglione, a Moose Jaw native and Music teacher at the U of R, loves the time he gets with each band and said it's not the normal format of most festivals.

Ghiglione has adjudicated eight to 10 bands each day this week and described the diversity of talent between each group to the difference seen in colours.

"My brother is a graphic design artist and he looks at colours and shapes," he explained. "It's all about sound for us."

The teacher sees a big difference in the calibre of the city bands.

"There are always more veteran teachers that push their students to be better and they have more techniques," Ghiglione said. "The calibre of the groups are very nice."

For Alasdair and Sydney of the John Pritchard Grade 9 Band, this festival is about their love of music. Alasdair initially started playing trumpet in the band because his siblings did, but once he started playing he realized he liked it.

"I like music because you get to express different things with your instrument or through song and rythmn and beat," he told the Times-Herald. "If you are down it picks you up and lifts your spirit."

Sydney already knew she had a passion for music when she joined the band but she has also found friendship and a connection to the music.

"You really feel what the music is trying to say," she said.  "It has a message. Every piece we play, we kind of have a message to the people."

This week's festival wraps up today at 4 p.m. If you would like to attend the last few performances, the remaining bands and choirs will be performing at Peacock auditorium, the Mae Wilson Theatre and the Zion United Church.

Nathan Frank can be reached at 306-691-1263.

 

Organizations: John Pritchard School Grade, Grade 9 Jazz Band, Times-Herald Mae Wilson Theatre Zion United Church

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Sydney, Winnipeg New Orleans

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