Oak Bay High school French horn players Rio Davison and Max Stover rehearse for the upcoming bandfest.

Big band battle

500 teens toot their horns for Bandfest

Those yearning to hear the oom pa pa of brass, crash of cymbals and thrum of strings need look no further than Bandfest at the University of Victoria this month. The three-day event draws more than 30 local and visiting bands, and those who love the vibrant big band sound.

For Oak Bay High music director Jeff Weaver, rounding up the troops and heading to Bandfest has become a rite of passage.

Weaver began his career at Oak Bay High and did stints at Rockheights and Central middle schools before returning to Oak Bay. He’s brought band students to UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium in each of his 10 years teaching music in the Greater Victoria School District.

This year’s edition of the school band adjudication and performance experience, happening March 5-7, is no different. It’s always about learning, in a way that goes beyond working on compositions in the comfort of the school band room, Weaver says.

“We get to listen to other bands play, which is something we don’t get to do normally,” he says. “The key is to get kids to listen in an interactive way, not a passive way. And they get to be heard by people other than their parents, which is good.”

Mike Keddy works with musicians of various ages as director of the UVic Don Wright Symphonic Winds and the Greater Victoria Concert Band. He is one of two adjudicators who will listen, critique and offer tips to each of the bands participating. The other is David Becker, director emeritus of bands at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore.

Stressing that the event is “non-competitive,” Keddy also emphasizes the learning aspect for the students, who span from Grade 6 to Grade 12. That age and experience range requires that he and Becker take varying approaches to their adjudications and comments.

“We tend to talk more global and have more fun with kids at the younger ages, and more technical and more direct to the groups that are more at a senior level,” he says. “They don’t need to talk more notes and rhythms, we talk to them about things like nuance and balance.”

A half dozen or so local middle and high school bands are registered for the event, which is free and open to the public. While it is not a contest, students and band directors hardwired to learning tend to take it seriously and take the comments of the adjudicators to heart, as if it were a competition.

“It’s a showcase of the incredible opportunities that students have and the incredible talent that they are able to show,” Keddy says.

For those of Weaver’s senior students considering registering for the music program at UVic, playing onstage in the acoustically sound Farquhar venue can prompt them to imagine, ‘I could be playing here every day.’

“I think that’s a huge draw,” he says. “It’s

a chance for me to show them what the next level is.”



Just Posted

Down on the Corner with Brent Butt

Lead actor in the popular Corner Gas sitcom brings his live show to Sidney April 7

Reconciliation and Mozart features four arias and narration

Net proceeds of the March 24 performance go to Reconciliation Canada

Royals gear up for WHL playoffs after suffering season-worst loss

Victoria has a solid 7-3 record this year against opening-round opponent Vancouver

Piano campaign purchases grand instrument and more for Oak Bay’s community theatre

Surplus funds sound mixer and console for Dave Dunnet Community Theatre

Two puppies snatched from East Sooke home

Anyone with information asked to contact Sooke RCMP

Controversial portrait could open dialogue on colonialism

“Likely” portrait of Captain George Vancouver soon available to public for the first time sparking debate at Royal BC Museum

REVIEW: Ballet Etoile scores comic triumph with Coppelia

Victoria professional company produces a fine ensemble piece

V2V ship tours offer hospitality, info on harbour-to-harbour services

Open houses planned for next few weekends on Victoria’s Inner Harbour

America’s Musical Journey premieres at the IMAX

Enter to win tickets to an invite only concert at your community newspaper’s Facebook page

KATHY KAY: Pair of indie films offer similar good messages

Call Me By Your Name, The Last Dalai Lama

ALLAN REID: Flying Otter Grill serves up more than just a plane view

Review of waterfront eatery finds Dine Around a $30 hit

Singer Ann Mortifee is giving a rare performance at the Port Theatre

Mortifee is sharing the bill with old friend folk-singer Rick Scott

John McDermott joins the Vancouver Island Symphony for St. Patrick’s Day concerts

Nanaimo performances will feature personal stories and traditional Irish ditties

Most Read