The WLSS/CSS Tour Band achieved a silver rating at Nationals Musicfest Canada last week in Richmond.
“The students performed exceptionally well and received great compliments from the adjudicators, the most memorable being “small band, big sound and heart,” says their band leader Dena Baumann.
There were 235 different ensembles from all across Canada participating in the Nationals Musicfest Canada — concert bands, jazz ensembles, choirs and string/orchestra ensembles.
“That means that approximately 4,000-5,000 students attended the festival throughout the week,” Baumann says. “This is the biggest music festival for high school students in North America.
Baumann says there were about 90 other bands in the concert band category, which the combined Williams Lake and Columneetza secondary tour band participated in.
“Each group gets a rating from the adjudicators,” Baumann says. “It’s not a competition against each other. Each band gets a gold, silver, bronze or participation rating. I’m really proud of a silver rating, and one judge awarded us gold, but we got silver overall. Only about 24 groups earned a gold The standards are very high.”
She says Danaya Rankin, a WLSS student in Grade 11, was presented with the Musicfest Canada Honour Award for the lakecity ensemble. Danaya plays bass clarinet. She was recognized for her hard work and dedication to the program.
“She plays bass clarinet which never gets the solo or melody part. She never expects to be in the spotlight, but she is a huge asset to the group and always has her part down.”
The WLSS/CSS Tour Band performed three pieces at the festival: Wilderness Scenes; Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon (piece based on Scottish folk song), and Mazama.
She says Mazama is a very cool piece that is based around the First Nations people in the Pacific Northwest, where a volcano erupted and caused Crater Lake.
“After we performed we had to do a sight-reading component where the students have to play a piece they’ve never seen before after looking at it for just five minutes,” Baumann says.
She says the students were rated on their sight-reading and also how they responded to the clinic they participated in with a professional adjudicator.