Members of the Cariboo Gold Dance Band were looking forward to a busy spring and summer as the band began rehearsals back in January.
They had planned on performing in several shows around the community and were even looking at bookings in the fall. However, following the advice of our provincial medical advisor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, March 9 would be the last regular rehearsal for the band for several months.
When the news of the COVID-19 virus spreading throughout B.C. (and the rest of the world) and the need for isolation and social distancing was introduced in March, it was thought that we would all be basically staying home as much as possible for a few weeks. This meant little or no social contact and for the band, no more rehearsals. In addition, the Seniors Activity Centre, where the band meets each week, was also closed. Of course we all recognized that these measures were intended to protect as much of the population as reasonably possible, but they did create some challenges for everyone as well.
One of the benefits of self-isolation and reduced social contact, for musicians, means just that much more time to practice one’s instrument. Many of us have logged countless hours over that last four months with technical studies, play-along exercises, improvisational play and even Zoom lessons from some amazing professionals. All of these aspects of playing are great for the individual, but don not contribute to the chemistry that develops between members of a band. This is created during the time playing together and is an important component in the overall sound any band produces. Playing in isolation doesn’t improve the performance quality of a big band.
Some band members have met a couple of times during the last four weeks, at an outdoor venue and set up according to Ministry guidelines for distancing. These gatherings, however, were not especially worthwhile and as it turned out, more socially beneficial than musically productive. Several members did not feel comfortable gathering with others yet, and one member of the rhythm section was actually confined at home in another country, not yet able to return to Canada.
Staying positive, though, and looking ahead knowing that we will all eventually get through this pandemic, the band executive continues to plan for future events. On the horizon is a fundraising dance performance for the Hough Memorial Society and a Frank Sinatra tribute show. Both of these were being considered for this fall but are now being moved to the spring of 2021. If all goes well with the potential vaccines that are being developed, a possible Valentine’s Day event is definitely one that could be scheduled in for the band.
With the Frank Sinatra tribute performance, the Cariboo Gold Dance Band will be collaborating with the well-know west coast jazz singer, Steve Maddock.
Steve has an extensive bio and has been in the music business for over 25 years, including work in musical theatre, teaching at Capilano College University and as a jazz vocal recording artist. To prepare for the tribute show, the band has recently purchased several original Sinatra charts.
“These new charts are quite a challenge,” says trombonist David Rusch, “but we’ll work them up and they’ll be absolutely fantastic.”
Though not in their performing mode at present, the CGDB continues to work toward the future where regular rehearsals are able to happen (with appropriate precautions), venues booked and dates can be set for upcoming performances. To that end, the band continues to purchase new music and equipment in preparation for future shows. The band would like to thank the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society, the City of Williams Lake and the Cariboo Regional District for their continued support, especially during these unusual times.
As well, the band would like to recognize the support of the Cariboo Arts Council of Williams Lake. We’re hoping to get back into a regular routine soon, and look forward to providing musical entertainment for the community. In the meanwhile, “like” us on Facebook and watch for posts regarding CGDB events this winter and spring of 2021. A special thanks go out to everyone in our community that are involved with and support live music in the Cariboo. Stay safe and well because we want to see you all soon.