Sidney Concert Band swinging into spring

From Sousa to Gershwin, annual concert full of energy.

The Sidney Concert Band are gearing up for their Swing Into Spring concert

From the military marches of John Philip Sousa to the familiar strains of some of Gershwin’s most popular tunes, Sidney Concert Band’s annual spring concert on May 24 has a little something for everyone.

Swing Into Spring will feature renditions of Embraceable You, At Last, excerpts from My Fair Lady, a saxophone solo from the Duke Ellington era, and a Sound of Music sing-along, to name a few of the afternoon’s numbers.

The concert will also showcase the band’s clarinet section with a polka, and a trumpet solo that lends itself to gospel-style clapping along, says musical director Rob Bannister.

“We always try to pick a variety of music for the program to try to cater to our local patrons,” he says.

“They’ve been very supportive, and we try to provide music that’s going to suit their tastes throughout the community.”

It’s a variety that’s well-informed by the musicians themselves, who range in age from early teens right through to members in their 80s. While a wider age range isn’t uncommon in community bands, the Sidney Concert Band is unique in the sheer breadth of experiences and backgrounds of their musicians.

“We don’t like to turn anyone away, regardless of their age or their situation,” says Bannister. “They’re always welcome.”

The band is equally committed to giving back to the community that’s supported them since their inception in 1986, and often play at local benefit concerts and fundraisers, the Sidney Santa Sparkles parade, the Sidney Canada Day parade, and free community concerts at the Sidney bandshell.

They’ve also occasionally done repairs for school instruments to ensure that, despite budget cuts, music isn’t lost from the curriculum.

This year, they’re trying something new, says Bannister, and are awarding Spectrum High School student Jason Gordon with a $1,000 scholarship at the spring concert.

“We’re very proud, because we’ve given three scholarships away,” says Bannister.

“This is our first year and we hope to be able to carry on.”

The scholarship funds don’t have any specific conditions, though it’s hoped the student will use it to further their music studies, he says.

“We’re trying to encourage kids to come into the band. And it’s important for us to try and keep the community aware of the importance of music in schools,” he adds.

Swing Into Spring is the first major concert for the band this year and with their multitude of instruments and high level performances, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

The concert begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 24 at the Charlie White Theatre at the Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave.

Tickets are $15, available at the box office, marywinspear.ca or by calling 250-656-0275.

For more information, visit sidneyconcertband.ca.