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Brantford Memorial Concert Band wow’s the crowd with Family Day Sunday Serenade

Arts and EntertainmentBrantford Memorial Concert Band wow’s the crowd with Family Day Sunday Serenade

Members of the Brantford Memorial Concert Band (BMCB) performed their first Sunday Serenade of the year on Sunday, February 18, 2024.

Nearly 100 guests settled in and enjoyed a variety of music including marches, classical, contemporary rock, and showtune numbers throughout the afternoon event.

The band opened the concert with “O’Canada,” followed by George Gershwin’s “Strike up the Band,” a lively tradition for BMCB, before taking the audience on a musical journey.

From Ralph Ford’s “Royal Canadian Sketches” to their own version of “Accidentally in Love” by the Counting Crows, Eric Coates’ “Knightbridge March,” as well as a “Broadway Journey: 25 Years of Golden Classics” and “Barry Manilow on Tour” arrangements, there was no shortage of musical excellence to move the audience.

Paul Monné, Master of Ceremonies, smiles at Paul Nicholson as the band plays “Broadway Journey: 25 Years of Golden Classic’s” during the Sunday Serenade concert on Sunday, February 18, 2024.

“I think the hardest job in this band is picking the music we’re going to play at a concert,” said Paul Monné, Master of Ceremonies for the event. “We have to make sure the band is challenged, entertained, and enjoys the numbers. We have to make sure the audience is going to enjoy it, and there has to be a reason.”

In between pieces, Monné provided the guests a joke here and there, as well as brief anecdotes for the different numbers.

Members of the Brantford Memorial Concert Band play George Gershwin’s “Strike Up the Band” during its Sunday Serenade concert on Sunday, February 18, 2024.

For “Royal Canadian Sketches” he spoke about the intention of the composer and how it is meant to explain the feeling of experiencing the Alberta landscape.

“That three-part collection is effectively a tone poem in which the music is meant to describe something that you wouldn’t really try to describe with words. The first movement was meant to describe the feeling, experience and sensation of the Calgary Stampede, the second movement was meant to describe the sensation of being in that one lonely out-post farmhouse on the outskirts of Red Deer, Alberta. The final movement represents driving up to the Rocky Mountains first thing with the sun at your back and just seeing the sunrise as it lights up the mountain.”

During “Broadway Journey: 25 Years of Golden Classics,” the band touched on pieces from Anything Goes, Porgy and Bess, Red, Hot and Blue, Babes in Arms, Oklahoma!, Finian’s Rainbow, Kiss Me Kate, The King and I, Kismet, My Fair Lady, and Gypsy.

One band member stands during Jay Unger’s “Ashokan Farewell” during the Sunday Serenade concert on Sunday, February 18, 2024

Many audience members were quick to mouth along the words for each composition, garnering a laugh and kudos from the MC.

When it came time to perform “Barry Manilow on Tour,” many guests danced along in their seats with smiles on their faces.

Gwen Hawkins, a returning audience member, said that she was, “as always,” impressed by the band and their infectious attitude.

“I’m always in awe of people who can play like that, it was really lovely,” she said. “I loved the Barry Manilow on Tour composition. They really captured the excitement of the music and you could see the people really lighting up because this is the music they grew up with and associate with. It was fun to watch the other audience members dance just along and enjoy it, I love watching that.”

Paul Nicholson, conductor for the Brantford Memorial Concert Band, smiles at the band as they prepare to play “O’Canada” during its Sunday Serenade concert on Sunday, February 18, 2024.

The BMCB is one of three bands offered by the Brantford School of Instrumental Music and gives more experienced musicians an opportunity to be a part of a band that has been running since 1931. 

The BMCB season runs from September to June and performs five shows throughout the months, and new members are welcome to join anytime during the season.

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