May 26th, 2024

Concert Band setting the tone for Olympics with spring concert

By ANNA SMITH on May 15, 2024.

The Medicine Hat Andante Concert Band practises for the upcoming concert.--News Photo Anna Smith

The Medicine Hat Concert Band is gearing up to get into the Olympic spirit, with only two weeks to go until their spring concert.

A tribute to Canada and the upcoming Summer Games in Paris, the concert features pieces designed to inspire and motivate, as well as pay due credit to composers throughout the country, said Mark Ward, Andante Band conductor.

“We wanted to feature that and sort of, you know, give our little shout-out to Canadians as we approach this year’s Olympics,” said Ward. ” So all very exciting music, I think, and it’s going to be a variety of things that will attract people and pay for an enjoyable evening.”

The Andante Band has been working on the pieces since January, said Ward, with Allegro Band director Curtis Perrin, adding that his band had a slightly tighter learning process due to focusing on the Bill Wahl memorial earlier this year.

“Things are coming together nicely with two weeks out. Everybody’s right where we want them to be. So I’m really happy with where everything’s at right now,” said Perrin. He explained that while there are nerves among the musicians, the pieces are right where they need to be, and he has every confidence that performance night will be one to remember.

“It’s a wonderful group of people and a community ensemble that show up diligently once a week. And I think they’re, you know, they’re doing a great job on this music,” said Ward.

The concert will include two pieces with the combined band, as well as a unique piece for a trombone quartet, which was specially commissioned for the Concert Band. The piece will be performed for the first time.

“We commissioned it to be performed at a concert that was supposed to happen in April of 2020. Obviously, that didn’t end up happening,” said Perrin. “And so then this piece of music has kind of sat here for the last few years, waiting for time for it to go and be programmed. And so when we decided to do it as a focus on Canada and Canadian music, I realized this was the perfect concert to go and slot this piece in.”

The piece, The Day the Water Turned Red, composed by Julien Simard, is written to tell through music the story of Canadian involvement in the D-Day landings.

“It worked out, accidentally, really well, that we are premiering the piece two weeks before the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings,” said Perrin. Simard is a trombonist with the Royal Canadian Artillery Band in Edmonton, and will be attending the concert to hear the piece performed for the first time.

After that, said Perrin, the piece will become available for purchase for other bands, and spread the reputation of the Concert Band with it as it spreads to other places.

The show itself will take place at the Esplanade on May 25, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available at, though Ward advises that the remaining seats are moving quickly.

“It’s always a great night when we go in and put on some good music, so we really encourage people to come check it out. It’s a good way to spend a night out and enjoy yourself with some great music,” said Perrin.

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