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Residents enjoy summer serenade at Bell Homestead

Arts and EntertainmentResidents enjoy summer serenade at Bell Homestead

Nearly 80 residents attended the Brantford Memorial Concert Band’s (BMCB) Summer Serenade concert held at the Bell Homestead National Historic Site on Sunday, June 23, 2024.

To kick off the evening Paul Monné, Master of Ceremonies for the event, thanked the audience for coming out and for Brian Wood, Curator of the Bell Homestead, for inviting the band back to the site.

“Brian asked us if we could try and have some kind of Bell themed songs and some of them are a bit of a stretch, admittedly, the elastic is pulled pretty tight for some of these,” chuckled Monné. “The first number we’re going to play is a number called Gaslight Games and it’s a medley of four songs. These songs are all popular music from the late 1890s early 1900s, an era in which Alexander Graham Bell was alive and well.”

Members of the Brantford Memorial Concert Band perform a four song medley of late 1890s and early 1900s songs during their Summer Serenade concert held at the Bell Homestead National Historic Site on Sunday, June 23, 2024.

The medley combined George M. Cohen’s “Mary’s a Grand Old Name” and “Give My Regards to Broadway,” Joseph E. Howard’s “Hello My Baby” (made popular by Warner Bros.’ Cartoon character Michigan J Frog), and the Mills Brothers’ “You Tell Me Your Dream, and I’ll Tell You Mine.”

“Wichita Lineman” written by Jimmy Webb for Glen Campbell, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit song “Call Me Maybe” were also on the evening’s line up.

Paul Nicholson, band leader for the Brantford Memorial Concert Band, smiles at his band as they play a medley of ABBA music during the Summer Serenade concert held at the Bell Homestead National Historic Site on Sunday, June 23, 2024.

“Our next song has a direct reference to a telephone in the title so it’s an obvious one,” said Monné. “I’m a huge fan of great pop music and one of the wonderful things about great pop music to me, is it either speaks to you when you’re in high school, or it reminds you of when you were in high school. ‘Call Me Maybe” is just one of those wonderful happy pop songs that celebrates that little part of life that we all have to go through and it’s just fantastic.”

Members of the Brantford Memorial Concert Band perform Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” during their Summer Serenade concert held at the Bell Homestead National Historic Site on Sunday, June 23, 2024.

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s “Blue Moon” was up next, followed by a Highland pipe song as a dedication to Bell’s Scottish roots, and K.D. Lang’s version of “Hallelujah.”

“When K.D. Lang sang this at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, it was absolutely the most moving performance of any piece of music I have ever experienced in my life,” said Monné. “Whenever I hear this song, no matter who plays it or who sings it, or how it comes across, it always takes me back to that moment. It’s one of these songs that will grab you because it’s just such a beautiful medley, and it has absolutely nothing to do With Alexander Graham Bell.”

Members of the Brantford Memorial Concert Band perform K.D. Lang’s version of “Hallelujah” during their Summer Serenade concert held at the Bell Homestead National Historic Site on Sunday, June 23, 2024.

The band later continued with their own renditions of Johannes Brahms’ “Brahms Waltz Two Ways” and Frederic Weatherly’s “Danny Boy.”

To end out the evening, the Brantford Memorial Concert Band finished with an ABBA medley which layered the band’s hit songs “I Have a Dream,” “Mamma Mia,” “SOS,” Knowing me, Knowing You,” “The Winner Takes it All,” and “Dancing Queen.”

“Abba is an absolutely stunning group for the complexity and beauty in their recorded music. If you have the chance at some point, find a song of theirs that you love and listen to it five times in a row,” said Monné. “The first time, listen to the singers and the next time listen to the guitars, the next time listen to the bass player and the drummer and just concentrate on different sections of the song. It’s an absolute masterpiece in construction, production, and performance.”

A member of the Brantford Memorial Concert Band performs a clarinet solo of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s “Blue Moon” during the Summer Serenade concert held at the Bell Homestead National Historic Site on Sunday, June 23, 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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