Band members strike silver in Brazil

Music: Members of Calgary Stetsons share global win

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 09:03 am

From the left, Calgary Stetson Show Band members, Joseph Bichel, Mackinley May, Karsten Coli, Drew Francis, <br />Jocelyne McHugh, and Katie Gray, stand in front of Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro after placing <br />second in an international show band competition.
From the left, Calgary Stetson Show Band members, Joseph Bichel, Mackinley May, Karsten Coli, Drew Francis,
Jocelyne McHugh, and Katie Gray, stand in front of Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro after placing
second in an international show band competition.
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Three local band students returned to Calgary from Brazil on a high note earlier this month.

The Calgary Stetson Show Band, which includes local musicians Karsten Coli, Joseph Bichel and Katie Gray of Holy Trinity Academy, placed second amongst 22 other bands in the World Association of Marching Show Bands in Braganca Paulista, Brazil July 30 to Aug. 3.

The Calgary Stampede Show Band took gold.

For 15-year-old trumpet player Coli, it was an experience like no other.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “When they told us our scores nobody had any words.

“We were just so excited to have that high score, and placing second to the Calgary Stampede Show Band, everybody is ridiculously happy about that.”

Coli joined the Calgary Stetson Show Band last year through the encouragement of some of his friends at Holy Trinity Academy.

The 94-member band is made up of woodwinds, brass, drums, percussion, front ensemble and colour guard.

“My friends were in roundup last year and were telling me how fun it was,” he said. “I joined this year and they were definitely right. It’s unbelievably fun.”

Coli’s mom Tracey shared her son’s elation when he texted her from Brazil informing his family of the band’s second place status.

“My son texted me that they were ridiculously happy,” she said.

“To get second after the Stampede band they were over the moon. We were so happy for them.”

Tracey said the score the Calgary Stetson Show Band achieved at the international event was a record for the band.

“When they performed in the preliminaries their hope and dream was to score 90, not thinking they would and they scored 90,” she said.

Competing in a world-level championship in his first year in a show band was nerve-racking for Coli, but he was up for the challenge.

“At first we were all really nervous and we weren’t really sure what to expect,” he said.

“Once we got into it we realized it was like performing for anybody else. It was just a different place. It was incredible being able to perform for the crowds there and experiencing the culture.”

With weekly practices, monthly band camps, Christmas concerts and numerous parades throughout the year, including the Calgary Stampede Parade, the Calgary Stetson Show Band was prepared for the competition.

“Our instructors work all year to make us good enough at the marching and know our music well enough that we can put them together and still make it what it is,” he said. “Being able to perform an entire show and hearing the crowd react is a great feeling.”

Nimrodel Donahue, administrative co-ordinator for the Stetson Show Band, said this competition is the first time the band achieved a score in the 90s.

“They’re typically just under 90,” she said.

“This year, them breaking 90 was a massive thing for them. They were so proud that they did so well.”

The show band competed in three categories, placing first in the parade competition, second in the field show and third in the drum battle.

The Calgary Stampede Show Band has won the competition for five consecutive years.

Coli and the other Holy Trinity Academy students auditioned to participate in the Calgary Stampede Show Band this fall and recently learned they have all been accepted.

“All of us are a bit nervous, but we know the people in the Stampede band and we’ve had chances to interact with their band and all the people in it,” said Coli. “We feel we are going to become one of the family with them pretty quickly.”


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