Holiday concert a bit out of the ordinary
Music: Foothills Music Society winter show Dec. 16 at Holy Trinity Academy
Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012 09:58 am
Foothills concert and jazz bands are giving residents a break from the incessant Christmas carols being played in department stores and on radio stations.
Big band swing, ballads, jazz waltzes and traditional classical pieces are among the line-up for the Foothills Music Society’s 20th annual winter concert in the St. Raphael Theatre at Holy Trinity Academy in Okotoks on Dec. 16 at 2 p.m.
“It’s just as mix of everything,” said society president John Bird. “We don’t do a full program at Christmas because we find that every other group in town does that.”
The society’s 35-member concert band will open the concert with a variety of selections including the challenging Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, the second and most famous in a set of 19 by composer Franz Liszta, who originally wrote the piece for the piano, said Bird.
The traditional concert band consists of woodwind and brass instruments playing a lot of classical music in a philharmonic orchestra setting, said Bird.
“We are going to play a pretty interesting selection of music including traditional band pieces, more modern eclectic pieces and an interesting version of ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain’,” he said. “It’s a new arrangement of old material with sort of a modern blend to it.”
The concert band will also play backup for the Okotoks Men’s Chorus, which will sing a small selection of Christmas carols, said Bird.
“We had them as special guests a couple of years ago, but they asked if they could perform with us this year,” he said. “This is the first time the choir is going to perform with our concert band playing behind them.”
The jazz band will also bring its unique sound to the stage, said Bird.
“In the jazz band we have kids as young as 18 and some (members) are in their 70s,” he said. “It’s a mixed bag but it’s so much fun. We have the best time.”
Many members of the concert band also play in the jazz band, said Bird.
“They are very different contrasting styles in music,” he said. “For a lot of our members both genres of music really apply to the members. We have that diversity in that group.”
Members hail from south Calgary, Okotoks, High River, Black Diamond, Turner Valley and surrounding foothills communities.
Many are music teachers, students or used to play in high school and picked up their instrument again after taking a few years off to raise their families, he said.
“Anyone who has a firm grounding in music can come play with us,” he said. “They don’t have to qualify to play a certain position. It’s just an opportunity for people to try different instruments and have a lot of fun with it.”
High River saxophone player Herb Johnson will break up the 90-minute concert with a performance during intermission where attendees are invited to enjoy baked goods, said Bird.
“It’s a really nice pleasant afternoon of music,” he said. “It’s nice to know what people in the community are up to musically.”
Bird said he hopes to see many foothills residents out to enjoy the concert in its 20th year this weekend.
“It’s always been a struggle to attract a large audience,” he said. “Typically we get 75 to 100 people with a lot of relatives and friends coming out.”
Admission for the concert is free with a donation to the Okotoks Food Bank.