The Christmas Concert Extraordinaire 2014 brought four band groups together for a rousing evening of entertainment Thursday evening, Dec. 11 at the Lake City Secondary School’s Williams Lake campus.
The LCSS Jazz and Tour bands joined with the Williams Lake Community Band and Tuba John Brass Band for individual performances and then all got together at the end of the concert for a rousing send-off to the holiday season with Sleigh Ride.
The mixed rock/blues/folk band Lauren and the Yahoos played a selection of songs as the audience gathered in the hall and opened the show with Down in the Valley and The Head and the Heart.
The groups played Christmas songs such as The First Noel, A Mariah Carey Christmas, Bells of Christmas, Carol of the Night, and other popular songs such as Louie, Louie, Sentido, Themes from Halo, and classics such as Second Suite in F.
In each set some of the students and Community Band members were highlighted with solos. As their teacher and conductor Laura Eilers pointed out, the jazz band students create their own solos without written music.
Solos in the jazz band set were performed by James Still, Lara Silkstone, Clayton Charleyboy, Cosmo Brunsch, and Mackenzie Howse.
Community Band solos were performed by Steve Oliver and Mark Hamm, Ingolf Sandberg, and Harry Jennings who sang Merry Christmas Pretty Baby as Elvis.
Tour band solos were performed by Noona Rill, Gabster Lachapelle, Nicole Curbello, Mackenzie Howse, Jaylyn Johnson, Cosmo Brunsch, Nicole Curbello, and Amanda Yonkman.
“The Christmas concert is a great opportunity for students to listen to and perform along side and with other musicians,” says teacher and conductor Laura Eilers.
“I always encourage my students to try new things and to go outside of their comfort zone; especially in Jazz Band where they make up their own solos.”
This year, because the secondary Winter Formal was held the same night as Tuba John Christmas, Eilers and Rocco Catalano made sure that students graduating this year had one last opportunity to take part in a mini Tuba John Christmas during the LCSS Christmas Concert.
“Many of them had the opportunity to play with Tuba John (the late John Sykes) over the years and value what he has done for the music community in Williams Lake,” Eilers said. In the program several Community Band members were thanked for the extra help they provided to the band students.
Murray Hoffman came in to play with and inspire the trumpet section of the Tour Band.
Rocco Catalano arranged for senior band students to play with the Tuba John Christmas Concert with Friends held Tuesday. Dec. 9 at St. Andrew’s United Church.
Thanks was also extended to members of the Cariboo Gold Dance Band who helped to fill in the Jazz Band.
The musical evening was provided by donation for the band program.
During Spring Break 2015, Eilers says the the Tour Band will be traveling to Austria and Italy.
“I have 20 students who are going and rehearsals have already started so we can have the music ready by the time we leave on March 5,” Eilers says.
“During our time abroad we will be performing at least three times in different cities. They are all excited to be going and to be representing Lake City Secondary School and Williams Lake.”
Eilers says some of the songs they will be playing on their European tour are The Sound of Music, Encanto and Air for Band.
“These students work really hard and I am very happy with the work they have put in, not just with practicing, but all the fundraising we have done and will continue to do to make sure the students have the opportunity to take part in such an amazing opportunity,” Eilers says.