Strike up the band
By Paul J. Henderson
The best of the best of the military's teen musicians will be coming to Chilliwack over spring break.
The B.C. Regional Cadet Honour Band is playing a free show at Chilliwack United Church on March 22, and those promoting it say guests will be pleasantly surprised at the level of music skills among the 15- to 18-year-old cadets.
"These young people are really, really enthusiastic," said Lt.-Cmdr. Gerry Pash who does media work for the band.
"Only about 40 per cent have played together before, but the majority play at a level equivalent to grade five, six, and some even seven, of the Royal Conservatory of Music."
The band is comprised of 50 of the top teenage musicians from the Royal Canadian Sea, Army and Air Cadets selected from across B.C. Being selected for the spring break honour band is a coveted prize among the 1,600 cadet musicians from the cadet bands in 70 B.C. communities. Many of the musicians selected play in their community or school bands as well as the cadet band.
The band plays under the direction of Lieut. Camil Bouchard, former music director of the Canadian Navy's Pacific Fleet Band.
"Bouchard does an absolutely magical job with them," Pash said, adding that every year the show is a big hit with those in attendance, including last year at the United Church in Chilliwack.
"I can guarantee it will not be a wasted period of time," he said. "It's quite invigorating and people will be quite amazed 15- to 18-year-olds can put out such music."
Arriving in Victoria on March 17, the cadets undergo three days of rehearsal at the Naden Band Room at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt in preparation for the first concert on Tuesday in Nanaimo. From there they go to Mission on Wednesday and then Chilliwack on Thursday.
The full concert band is complemented by pipes and drums and will perform popular music highlighted by military pomp and ceremony.
Some music the band will play includes Harry James, Benny Goodman, the music of Schindler's List (John Williams and Itzhak Perlman) as well as other popular medleys and tunes.
* The show is at the Chilliwack United Church at 1:30 p.m. on March 22, and there is no charge to attend the performance.
published on 03/16/2007