Rehearsals bring out the pleasure of playing

Spring? Yes! And fast approaches the performance of the Suncoast Concert Band on Sunday, April 28.

You could assume the concert would be the high point of the player’s season. Not so. It is only a fraction of the pleasure involved in playing in this ensemble.

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Conductor Tak Maeda also directs three North Shore ensembles, so when he arrives here every Saturday morning, he clearly knows what he is about. He focuses on making each practice an enjoyable experience for every player of the band while ensuring the music choices reflect the best use of the wide range of ages and experience of our players.

And a pleasure it is. From the time the doors of the Highland Centre rehearsal space open until 11:30 a.m. when Tak says with a big smile, “See you next week,” we are in for fun times. The first cheery greetings increase to a cacophony of sounds as we strike up our instruments. “Good morning,” Tak calls promptly at 9:15 as he leaps onto the podium. Our easiest piece comes first to warm up to, and then we tune to the B Flat note of our oboe player Alice.

Next: “Ba Dum” featuring the tuba of Kayden, our youngest musician, still in high school and already very good. Then it is “River of Life,” our fastest, most difficult piece. My fellow clarinetist Carol has kindly blocked out the notes I can’t play quickly, revealing only the ones I can manage at my skill level. No sweat, as John, Katie, Yvonne and Michael, our great clarinet players, will cover for us.

Coffee with goodies, and then we launch into “English Suite.”

“Generally we are doing fantastic,” says Tak; then a smile, and we know what is coming: “Now to make it even better,” he adds, and we return to work on a counter melody from the brass or perhaps some tricky saxophone run.

He often uses imagery to illustrate a point. “It sounds like we are in the kitchen preparing Sunday brunch,” he says. “This part should be relaxing, don’t you agree?” Or, a gentle correction: “Somebody missed the key change,” he admonishes, careful not to look in any particular direction.

All too soon: 11:30 and we are done. No space here to tell you of our magnificent brass section, of the three valiant percussionists or the excellent flutes. Better come to our concert! Got an instrument you haven’t played for years? We want you! This is a community band and all are welcome!

The April 28 concert is at Sechelt Indian Band Hall, 2:30 p.m. Tickets $20; 12 and under $5. Laedeli Gifts in Gibsons, Strait Music in Sechelt. For more information, contact Val: 604-885-6756.

– Submitted by Rod Olafson

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