Correlieu jazz band brings home silver

17 musicians and teacher Shawn Smith with Correlieu Jazz Band secured a silver standing at MusicFest Canada in Richmond

17 musicians and teacher Shawn Smith with Correlieu Jazz Band secured a silver standing at MusicFest Canada in Richmond

Correlieu Jazz Band once again embarked on a quest for music excellence at the National MusicFest Canada competition, this time in Richmond, B.C. May 16 – 20 where they brought home a silver standing.

As most of the current jazz band members are in Grade 10, the group figured that would be the category in which they would compete.

After qualifying and competing in the 2010 nationals, the students were invited to auditions in Prince George where the band achieved a silver status. They were expecting to do well in the national competition.

The P.G. auditions were right off the heels of the school’s production of Hairspray where the band spent night and day prepping for the stage extravaganza.

Richmond Nationals were only a month away.

“The hardest part was the three-hour rehearsals – and the fundraising,” Layla Hansen said.

“So many bottle drives.”

Amelia Lariviere said they only had three rehearsals before the auditions in PG.

“I thought we’d do well given how well we did in Prince George,” she said.

With the exception of Vagn Moore and Hansen, this would be band members’ first trip to the nationals.

The band had to prepare three pieces for competition, a ballad, a general swing number and a musical selection of their choice, one with a real wow factor.

Much to their chagrin, once they arrived in Richmond they discovered, with two band members in Grade 11, that would be their category.

However, serious as they were about the music, the high school students found many activities which allowed them to clear their heads and have some fun.

They played volleyball, walked on the beach (including a spontaneous game of caveman baseball) and sea kayaking on Jericho Beach.

Music teacher Shawn Smith said it was important to give the students a chance to get rid of excess energy and have fun.

“The morning of the competition they played volleyball,” he said.

Moore said they walked into their performance calm.

But Moore is one of the veterans and said it was far less scary than his first time two years ago.

“You start to recognize other musicians from previous years.”

As each band finished, the adjudicator critiqued their performance.

“He was really picky with us,” Justine Noble said.

“So we figured we didn’t do well.”

Moore, who brings more experience to the analysis, said when the adjudicator focuses on tiny details you can figure your fundamentals were pretty solid.

Correlieu Jazz Band were thrilled with their silver medal.

“There were lots of very talented people there,” Katey Genereux said.

Hansen said regardless of how they did, Nationals was so much fun.

They’re all aiming for gold next year.

Instead of resting on their laurels, the jazz band has gigs lined up for the summer. The Jazz Band and Orange Years (a smaller band within the larger band) are playing Sylvia’s Music Fest June 17 – 19. Anyone interested in booking the band can contact Shawn Smith at Correlieu, 250-992-7007.

As for what will happen next year, Smith said they’ll have to see what unfolds.

“This group has consistently exceeded my expectations,” he said.