Members of the Roland Community Band Workshop show their chops.
Roland was full of music on Saturday, March 18 as musicians from all over played selections for an eager crowd. However, this wasn’t any normal band concert.
These musicians only had one day to learn the music.
The Roland United Church hosted the 20th annual Roland Community Band Workshop. Musicians from all over the province (and one from Minnesota) flocked to the church to participate in the day-long workshop.
Tom Neufeld has been helping organize the event since its inception. “We just did it to get together and have a reading workshop,” he said. “That was probably the extent of our thought process. But over the years it’s just gotten bigger and better with more people, and it’s developed quite a reputation.”
Around 50 musicians gathered in the morning to read music and learn new songs. “My favourite part of the day is right toward the beginning of the rehearsal when all the sudden you hear 50, 55 musicians play,” Neufeld said. “There’s this huge, glorious sound that stirs your heart. You hear the band playing as a unit and you think, ‘Wow. We’re lucky to be here.’”
The band practices a wide variety of music. “We play marches, we play show tunes, we play reflective sounding pieces,” Neufeld said. “That’s another beauty of this. We’re not confined to one kind of music. This is a band that plays all kinds of music.”
Then, once they had rehearsed for hours and had some dinner, the band played their new selections for the delighted crowd. They performed for about an hour, filling the church with beautiful music and displaying their immense talents.
Halfway through the concert, the players paused to award the Bob Day Memorial Community Band Member Award. The award was created in honour of Bob Day, a local dentist who was a part of the first ever workshop, but was killed in a car accident before he could attend the second. “We missed him and we thought, ‘Hey, let’s celebrate his life. Let’s encourage those who had his same qualities,’” Neufeld said. “The award is about that person who stands out in bands and adds to the community and has great musical spirit in support of community bands.”
This year’s winner was Cam Marsland from Selkirk.
The next workshop will be on March 17, 2018. The evening concert starts at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.