A trip to the Netherlands would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many people. For those who play an instrument – competing at an international competition in a band would be a highlight of their musical career.
Being able to win gold at that international competition is an astronomical success.
The Red Deer Royals Show Band managed to do all these things at the World Music Championships (WMC) in Kerkrade, NL, where they won the gold medal in the show band category.
Director of the Red Deer Royals Michael Mann was very impressed with how his students performed overseas.
“The Royals are on a trip around Holland and we competed at the World Music Contest, which happens every four years. It can be compared to the Olympics of bands,” he said.
“In our competition, which is show band, we received the gold medal. I am very proud of the students for all the work they put in to get to this point.
Mann said the competition is a long one, with performances happening over the course of the entire month of July.
“It runs for almost a month over the course of three weekends,” he said.
“We have had many, many bands come – some of them are regular and some are show bands like we are. For most of us, this is the experience of a lifetime.
“For a lot of them, they won’t get the opportunity to do this again with the Red Deer Royals. Four years from now, we may be a new band and we may not go for another eight years to this competition depending on schedules.”
The Royals have been to the WMC before, however never under the tutelage of Mann – who said that an extraordinary amount of hours went into this competition.
“It is about several hundred hours when you add it all up,” he said.
“We started in January with eight hour camps two times a month and then we have our weekday rehearsals where we rehearse for three hours per night.
“We also had several more rehearsals going into the Calgary Stampede and this festival. It would be 500 hours at least of rehearsal time.
“This is the highlight of our season; it was what we were working towards and it is our final event of the season.”
Mann, who spoke with the Red Deer Express from an amusement park in Germany, said that the students now have the opportunity to tour with the group.
“We have a few more parade performances and then we are on our way back to Red Deer,” he said.
“We will be in a parade in Bruges, Belgium and we will be doing a ‘Last Post’ ceremony in Ypres. Then we have a couple performances in the Hague and Amsterdam to end our tour.”
He added, “I am very proud of the work and the success of the Red Deer Royals and we appreciate the support of the people back home in Red Deer. There have been lots of facebook posts and congratulations for the students.”