Founded in 2007, the Orangeville Community Band rehearses every Thursday evening, September to June. An eclectic group of about 40 musicians – some as young as 10 and others in their 80’s – make great music together.
Many started playing their instruments in elementary and high school, and then didn’t touch them again for 10 or 20 years while they continued education, started careers and raised families. A few are formally trained musicians and some first picked up their horns or percussions in their forties, fulfilling a lifetime dream to play music.
Last year they launched a new Beginner Band – 20 players including 5 adults and 15 students. Ages ranged from 8 years old to 60. Many of the seasoned community band players enjoy coming alongside to help new players who are just beginning on the same instrument.
Perhaps you’ll see yourself in the stories of two Orangeville Community Band musicians.
I am past-president of Orangeville Community Band. Since 2008 I’ve been a regular in the trumpet section. The sense of community gives us motivation to be there each week and the sound of the music we make together literally lifts our spirits.
Each band member could tell you a unique story about why they play their instrument and the impact the band has on their lives. We support each other through major life events from the birth of a baby to the loss of a parent. It’s pretty amazing to see two people decades apart in age, sitting side by side working through a difficult passage of music or sharing ideas about where to buy gear for their instrument. We watch our youth band members grow into adults and return after university or college to continue playing in the band.
As much as our weekly rehearsals are motivating and rewarding, our performances are a highlight for me. Each November we perform a mixture of music for a local Legion for Remembrance Day. Solemn pieces that evoke the sadness of loss, as well as more upbeat marches that honour the branches of the Canadian military. For several years I have had the honour of playing Last Post and Reveille. I feel that is a real gift for me to offer as a trumpet player.
In 2010 I was looking for a place to keep my chops in shape. It needed to closer to home, since my teaching career was busy. I joined this group and discovered the welcoming sense of community that went along with the rehearsals. Soon, I was invited to begin conducting once in a while. Four years ago I became the Musical Director. Every week I arrive for rehearsal tired from a busy schedule and yet, I walk away energized and refreshed.
Each year we visit local elementary schools where we do educational concerts that complement the school music curriculum. We demonstrate each instrument, play a selection of different cultural pieces and engage the students with questions about the elements of the music. We invite some participation from students, (for many it’s the first time seeing a live concert band). We’ve opened their minds to the impact of music in films and other media. And I know that we have inspired some of them to take music lessons and enroll in music classes at high school.
You’re invited to tune up! Whether or not you know how to play an instrument yet … Whether or not you’ve ever played in a band … Whether or not you’ve already attended one of the live rehearsals or concerts … you’ll be welcome.
Cheque Presentation Photo: Julie Wood, Orangeville Community Band past president; Joy Spencer, musical director; and Cheryl and Sam Greenwood of the Greenwood family/Greenwood Construction. The family contributes to both the economic and social fabric of Dufferin through it’s business and civic involvement. We are pleased to have them as Corporate Circle members.