The Grade 7 and 8 Concert Bands performed at BandFest 2008 at the University of Victoria last week. BandFest is an educationally oriented, non-competitive performance festival. This is the first year in several that SMUS has participated in the festival, as the event is usually scheduled during the same week as the Senior School musical. Although Grand Hotel was in fact running last week, which did create a challenge, Middle School music teacher Ms. Pamela Gerrits decided SMUS should return to BandFest after a much too long absence from the festival. Seventy-six of our students participated and represented SMUS along with 40 other high school concert bands from BC and Washington State.
Each band played three pieces in 35 minutes, performing on stage for two adjudicators. Mr. Michael Grice, former fine arts coordinator for the Coquitlam School District and current Director of Education with the Vancouver Opera, along with Mrs. Connie Turner, professor of conducting and music education at the University of Manitoba and founder of the U of M Concert Band, provided each band with a written and recorded adjudication, as well as an on-stage clinic immediately following the performance.
“What lovely sound. The percussion was very competent and the first trumpet was amazing,” said Mr. Grice. “What a lovely piece. Thank you for choosing this.”
During the on-stage clinic, adjudicators addressed areas of concern and showed the students where they can improve, which allows the students to enhance their level of performance.
“It was both bands’ best performances of the year,” said Ms. Gerrits proudly. “The students did an amazing job.”