Powell River community band set to resume concerts

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Outdoor concert planned at the Willingdon Beach site, highlighting the steps of the world

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Powell River Community Band is finally performing together again.

On June 11 at the Loggers Memorial Bowl in Willingdon Beach, weather permitting, the band will perform an outdoor concert. The 1 p.m. concert is free, but donations would be appreciated. The band will play Marches du monde.

Band and board member Ann Trousdell said the band is an independent, self-governing organization, made up of woodwind, brass and percussion players who are passionate about playing together. The band also financially supports students to give them the opportunity to join the band for free and continue playing beyond the level of their school band.

“The Powell River Community Band has a long and interesting history,” Trousdell said.

Longtime band member Dave Florence provided some of those details.

“In 1913, Powell River had a community orchestra called ‘the greatest orchestra in the world’. There are photos of this group in the qathet museum and in the hallway of Brooks High School,” Florence noted. “In the 1930s and 1940s there was a community group led by James Innes. Then Charles Stowell started a community band, which emerged as a result of a community college course in the 1960s. Various bandleaders continued the class, including Bob Williams, Travis McDonough and Pat Kendrick.

“In the 1990s the band went out of play for several years and musical instruments and other equipment were sold to a new community group in Chilliwack.”

Trousdell said that in 1996 a group of musicians led by Kendrick, including Florence, Hanna and Read English, and Walter Martella, established the Academy Community Concert Band under the auspices of the Powell River Academy of Music. Martella became conductor and rehearsals took place in the portable classrooms outside the academy.

“In February 1999, the band parted ways with the music academy and re-established themselves as the Powell River Community Concert Band,” Trousdell said. “The separation made it possible to accept the Kiwanis club’s generous offer of financial support from its charitable bingo funding. Group members spent many nights outfitting Kiwanis Bingos.

“In 2014, Roy Carson became the bandleader of the community band and he took the band to another level of performance. He is a highly skilled musician and educator who devotes an extraordinary amount of his time and energy in mentoring students and fellow musicians.

Most recently, in 2021, the band welcomed Steven Cramaro as the Junior Band Conductor, allowing the band to accommodate entry-level players.

“The purpose of the band is to operate and maintain a community brass band and associated ensembles in the Powell River area, to encourage and provide opportunities for adults and students to develop and express their musical talent, and to hold public concerts to showcase the concert band and associated ensembles,” said Trousdell. “Any adult or student playing a brass, wind or percussion instrument, with basic band experience, is welcome to check us out. You may want to consider joining the band in September.

For more information, contact christien.kaaij@gmail.com.

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