Community musicians are performing once again in the resurgent Quesnel Community Band. (Quesnel Community Band photo)

Quesnel musicians banding together

Community band is performing once again

Musicians typically enjoy nothing more than working together. Life isn’t one long solo. Finally, after years kept apart, the local players of orchestral instruments have an ensemble to be part of and exercise those musical muscles. On May 20, they make their triumphant re-boot debut.

“It’s been over a decade since the sharp, clean sounds of brass and woodwind instruments have been heard in Quesnel, when the last Community Band folded,” said Cathy Heinzelman, president of the Quesnel & District Community Arts Council and eager advocate of the resurgent group.

“Pre-pandemic there had been an effort to revive a group but no-one was interested in conducting or directing,” Heinzelman said, but some interested parties had some tricks up their sleeves.

In November of 2022, Quesnel Live Arts in partnership with the arts council’s Children & Families’ Concert series presented Buzz Brass, a brass ensemble from Quebec that became part of a larger plan.

“The concert for children and families was a rollicking ‘History of Music’ that was well received,” Heinzelman said. “The audience was polled upon entrance to the venue if they played an instrument, and from that query a director was discovered, willing to lead a new community band.”

Victoria Oliver is that new director. She is a trained musician from Vancouver Island who arrived in Quesnel from Port Alberni four years ago with her family and “is now contributing to her new community in a rare way,” said Heinzelman.

“Band members are musicians from the community; some have not lifted their instruments for years, others are students with a passion for playing,” she said. “Meetings resulted in 15 people expressing an interest.”

A venue was found at the Quesnel Native Friendship Centre.

Music sheets were ordered and some borrowed from School District 28.

A first rehearsal was held, and now the most ambitious part is about to take place: performances. Four shows are planned so far. The Quesnel Community Band will be on the bill for the Quesnel Farmers’ Market on May 20, accomplishing the long road back to musical life. After that, you can see them at the Children’s Festival June 3rd, another at the Farmers’ Market June 10th and on July 1st for Canada Day.

If anyone is interested in joining the band, please connect through the Arts Council email, to request information. Brass instruments, woodwinds, and percussion are all welcome. The plan for new members is to start up in September. New members are also encouraged to attend the events where the Quesnel Community Band will perform, and become familiar with the sounds and personalities.

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The Quesnel Community Band is trumpeting its return to active rehearsals and performances. (Quesnel Community Band photo)