2023 Season – Final Thoughts

As I type this, my heart is filled with gratitude for a wonderful season. Thank you for making it such a success.

Our final performance of the year may have been our best ever as a band, in spite of some last minute absences. You all showed up heroes: focused, locked in, and givin’ ‘er.

I am so proud! Each and every one of you did amazing things and deserves to be recognised for your contribution.

Special mention goes to Christian, who anchored us with his exceptional work on percussion. He was able to step in and cover all the critical parts and navigated many quick instrument changes. A lot of this was handled on the fly, making it even more impressive. Hats off, big ups, massive props, huzzah!

Folks, so much good stuff this summer to be happy about!

A couple of housekeeping issues as we close the book on the 2023 season:

  • The Eastman Community Band (Pinawa) has a used Armstrong 310 Piccolo for sale. Asking price: $800. If interested, please contact sheppards@ecomatters.com. (Please feel free to share this far and wide – they really want to see this piccolo go to a good home).
  • Christian announced at our gig that he’s involved in a musical with performances in early November (if memory serves) at Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute (Jubilee Place). Keep your eyes open for details on this – it would be lovely to support him in this venture. (I’ll post an update with further details when I have them, so you may hear more from Millennium about this).
  • If you still have a Millennium Band binder (and will not be seeing Jeff – our librarian – or I at Northwinds to return it), please reach out to info@mbmillenniumband.com so we can make arrangements to get the binders back. Jeff goes to a lot of trouble to ensure that the binders are in order and ready to go before the season starts.

I also want to say some special thank yous to the Committee members:

  • Dave – our treasurer and one of our percussion masters. Dave is one of the original founders of the Millennium Band and has been the Treasurer certainly as long as I’ve known of the band. In addition, he commits a lot of time doing the literal heavy lifting in the form of carting all the percussion equipment back and forth every time we gather to play. While he has the assembly, disassembly, and tetrising of his car down to an efficient machine, it still takes a lot of time and energy. Then he anchors the band in the percussion section and often plays several parts simultaneously. We are so lucky to have his dedication and commitment to this group. He probably hates that I’m doing this, but it’s important that the band knows how much effort he puts in out of the limelight.
  • Bruce – our secretary, booking agent, and mainstay of the alto and soprano sax section. Bruce does an amazing job of ensuring we have places to perform every summer, and ensuring we get an honorarium which helps keep the band afloat. He also ensures that the committee shakes the dust off and starts the season planning in plenty of time to ensure we have rehearsal spaces booked, and that we’re revved up and enthusiastic about gearing up. His contribution is integral to the smooth functioning of the committee.
  • Christina – our member at large and clarinetist extraordinaire. Christina’s role on the committee is to be a voice for the band members. With her enormous network of connections (owing to her many years of playing in the community, having been a member of most bands in the city – many simultaneously!), breadth of experience, and intimate knowledge of how many bands operate, Christina’s wisdom is invaluable.
  • Jeff – our librarian and trombonist. Jeff organises all the binders. Every spring (usually early in March), I send him a list of all the pieces I have hopes of working on. He makes the binders happen – the pieces not on “the list” disappear, the pieces show up all nice in plastic sleeves so our outdoor concerts don’t render them illegible, he ensures binders are signed out, and he enforces their return. (So far, the threat of Jeff seems to have been enough to get back our stray binders). This is a LOT of work – mostly unseen. In addition, Jeff will sort out music as required through the summer.

Thank you to the committee members who work behind the scenes to ensure that the season goes off without a hitch. Your proactive approach always ensures that when the season starts, the parts are in place and we can just roll along. It makes it so easy for me to focus on the musical direction when everything else is just taken care of. I cannot overstate the depth of my gratitude – there just aren’t words. I am confident that the whole band shares my gratitude for your efforts. (I’m sorry I didn’t think to acknowledge you at our last rehearsal – I should have done that).

Folks, you are my solace. This band is special. The culture of supportiveness renews me. Everyone pitches in as they are able. It seems I only have to announce that something needs doing and it gets done by the fairies. The joy you bring, the efforts you put forth, watching you develop as musicians… it nourishes my soul. This band is everything a community band should be, and that’s because it’s what you make it.

My experience as director has been life-changing. When I started conducting this ensemble in 2013, I’d had very limited experience as a conductor. You were all patient with me and allowed me space to learn and grow. You’ve supported me as I’ve developed over the years and you’ve helped me gain confidence. You have pushed me to improve myself. Thank you for helping me.

What we do matters. Our performances at seniors residences brings so much joy and feeds their souls. As the band spokesperson at concerts, I tend to be the one to get mobbed post-performance (though I know I’m far from the only one). The common thread from these encounters is that we connected and touched something in them – often a song that resonated and evoked a specific memory. That’s not something we should take lightly.

It has been such an honour to stand before you every week this summer. I look forward to what we can do next season!

Take care of yourselves,


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