Anyone who strolled by First United Church on Okanagan Avenue on Sunday evenings this fall would likely have have heard the Salmon Arm Community Band practising for the annual Christmas concert.
Well, the close to 56 members of the band who first struck a note 20 years ago are ready to entertain the community with a Christmas concert on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Nexus at First.
“It’s a fun program, quite a liberal amount of seasonal music such as “The Nutcracker” and “Jolly Old St. Nick,” intermixed with non-Christmas music,” says talented pianist Jim Johnston, noting one of the pieces the band will perform is “The Gathering Eagles,” written by Bob Baker, a member of the Squamish First Nation.
“Music can allow us to experience the essence of another culture,” director Johnston says, pointing out Baker agreed to share a piece of his aural tradition. “Vancouver composer Robert Buckley, in collaboration with Baker, produced this rendering.”
ABBA fans will be delighted to hear the band will play highlights of the band’s big hits.
On another note, the band will play the “Bunker Hill” March.
Legendary composer Karl L. King created a treasure trove of wonderful marches. Bunker Hill is no exception, with its pronounced and steady beat, it is sure to generate enthusiastic toe tapping from beginning to end.
“It’s an American Civil War March,” Johnston says. “Bunker Hill where the Americans were defeated by the Canadians.”
Looking now to Hollywood, the band will also perform highlights from the well-loved Home Alone Christmas movies.
After hearing a lot of music, audience members will be invited to participate in a singalong.
“We’ll try to get the band to play quietly enough,” laughs Johnston, who is in his second year as director and says former director Cees Kooyman and his wife Hanny will be missed in this year’s production.
Johnston is proud that he is only the second director in the band’s 20-year history.
“Here’s what I am particularly proud of; we have people in their 20s to people in their 80s and all ages in between,” he says. “I’m proud we’re making it generationally inclusive.”
Admission is by donation and Johnston points out that aside from buying new music, the band contributes what it earns in concerts to local charitable organizations.
Hear the music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Nexus at First.