Thousands of young musicians from across Western Canada performed at the 41st annual Provincial Festival of Bands, this week.
“I’ve never played in front of so many people before, so it was kind of nerve-wracking,” said Abby Miller, a Grade 9 student from Lindsay Thurber High School.
The Alberta Band Association’s 10-day festival draws about 7,000 students from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Miller, 14-years-old, had previously played B-flat clarinet for three years with the homeschooling band program and she is a dedicated musician, practising on either her clarinet or her guitar every night.
The Grade 9 Lindsay Thurber band has classes two or three times a week. They practise in two separate groups: woodwind instruments and brass, base and percussion. The two sections got together to practise as a full band four times the week prior to the festival.
The event features students in junior high, senior high and community bands performing before prestigious judges from across North America and receive critiques.
“We’ve worked really hard to prepare for this experience and so far it’s going really well,” said Jennifer Mann, director of bands at Lindsay Thurber High School.
This year the Grade 9 class was the only band from Thurber that attended the festival because the senior high band was touring elsewhere.
After their performance, each band attended a clinic and a sight-reading workshop taught by prominent educators and clinicians.
Among the judges at this year’s festival are Brent Ghiglione, University of Regina; Catherine Rand, University of Southern Mississippi, Colleen Richardson, Western University in London, Ontario; Christopher Unger and Larry Peterson from Augustana University in South Dakota; Jacqueline Dawson, University of Manitoba; Peter Haberman, Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota; Paul Popiel, University of Kansas; and Rita Burns from Edmonton and Brian Thorlacius from Calgary.
The public is invited to attend the daily performances, free of charge, on the main stage of Red Deer College, running from May 7-10 and 14-17 between 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.