By Joseph H
For those of you in Westmount’s Intermediate Band, grab your instruments and pack your bags, since the annual Intermediate Band Camp is coming up!
The Intermediate Band Camp will take place on Monday May 4th to Tuesday May 5th, and will involve the members of the Intermediate Band. It is a yearly event, where the members of the band go on an overnight trip to a camp outside the city. This year, the camp will take place in Camp River’s Edge. Camp River’s Edge is located about an hour outside of Calgary, and it has also been the location of last year’s camp. Band Camp is an overnight program for the Intermediate Band, and is designed to assist the band members in preparation of the Festival of Bands in Red Deer later in May.
Camp River’s Edge is a camp that holds summer camps for families. However, it also rents its space out to schools, churches, and other groups, for various uses, such as band/choir camps, retreats, and events.
Players will undergo intensive training in preparation during the Camp, including hours upon hours of playing. Every year, new students are shocked by the amount of playing that is done in the duration of these two days. In addition to the incredible amount of practice, there are sectionals, where band members gather into small groups based on which instrument they play to assist each other with difficult portions of the music. In just these two days, members can see their musical skills increase in leaps and bounds.
Of course, what camp isn’t complete with activities? Every year, there are always activities available to the participants, requiring sign-ups at a first-come-first-served basis. This year’s activities include bracelet making (pretty self-explanatory), gym games, where people enjoy a variety of games (mainly ball games), and a long-time favorite, and the most coveted activity, archery. There will also be teambuilding activities at the end of the first day in order to strengthen teamwork, a must-have in bands.
Along with the various activities and copious amounts of playing, there will also be a guest conductor, who will conduct the band for a run-through of the festival songs. A guest conductor can improve the abilities of the band members tenfold by using a conducting style that they are not used to, and seeking out improvements that may be beneficial to the band. This year’s guest conductor is Mike Sakatch. He was a conductor at Lord Beaverbrook High School, and now has retired from full-time, teaching to a part-time percussion teacher at Lord Beaverbrook and William Aberhart High Schools. He is also the conductor of the Wind Orchestra, the highest-level band (Grade 4.5-5.5 Music) in the Westwinds Music Association. Currently, he is Mr. Green’s conductor in the Wind Orchestra, and is the reason why he is the guest conductor for this year’s Intermediate Band Camp.
Finally, there is the annual “Intermediate Air Band Competition”, where participants jam to their favorite songs using air instruments and lip-syncing. By doing these things, they become the performers of the song. This will done on the final day just before the camp ends. Every year, band members participate, and in the end, everyone gets a good laugh out of the competition. The winners of the competition will have their names carved into a plaque, to be remembered (or forgotten) for all eternity.
Intermediate Band Camp is coming soon, so your reeds wet and your valves oiled for May 4th and May 5th!