Skills Workshop 2010

The inaugural skills development workshop for Manitoba adult amateur musicians was held at River East Collegiate on February 6th, 2010.  It was sponsored by Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, the Manitoba Band Association, and the Manitoba Millennium Band.  Three scores were donated by Long and McQuade Musical Instruments, and a fourth was borrowed from the Northwinds Community Band.  River East Collegiate offered a large and well-appointed band room, separate classrooms for sectionals, and a multipurpose room for break times and lunch.

The workshop attracted fifty-eight participants representing sixteen community and other bands in Manitoba.[i]  Many of the participants also play with the Manitoba Millennium Band, the sponsoring organization for the event.  The Manitoba Millennium Band is a mass community band that performs mainly during the summer months to extend musical opportunities in Winnipeg and various other communities such as Dauphin, Warren and Roland.

Eight guest clinicians provided their expertise for skills development, including Graham Bruce (euphonium/tuba), Owen Clark (percussion), Cheryl Ferguson (trombone/French horn), Janice Finley (saxophone), Virginia Helmer (flute), Kathy Lalonde (clarinet), Jason Paas (oboe/bassoon), and Gary Pollard (trumpet).  Our guest conductor for the day was Michael Scholfield.  [Please see the enclosed bio sheet.]  All participants agreed that these were excellent, dedicated professionals, and noted the variety of new skills they had learned for technique and performance.

The goal of the workshop was to provide a fun-filled learning experience and our participants wholeheartedly agreed it was a success.  We started the day with the full group to explore all four musical selections:  Arabian Dances (Barrett), Marches of John Williams (arr. Clark), Cartoon Symphony (arr. Vision), and Peanut Vendor (arr. Moss).  We then had sectionals throughout the day, and concluded with the full band performing all selections at the end of the day.  [Please see the enclosed agenda.]  We were very pleased to have Tricia Howe from Long and McQuade join us for the final performance.

Participants stated the workshop was very worthwhile and that they had an excellent day.  They enjoyed meeting and making music with new people, and were very appreciative of the efforts of the clinicians, conductor, organizers and volunteers.  Many also suggested that they would like to have the workshop offered again, perhaps even as an annual event.  The workshop enhanced musical literacy and acuity for the participants, which in turn will expand the enjoyment of our audiences and broaden the scope and appreciation of community bands in Manitoba.

Many thanks to our sponsors for helping us achieve this success.

Winnipeg bands included the Assiniboia Concert Band, Blaskapelle (German Club Band), Executive Club Band, Gig One Big Band, 252 Legion Band, Northwinds Community Band, Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Vic Peterson Big Band, Westwood Community Band, Winnipeg Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the U of M Concert Band.

Bands outside of Winnipeg included the Dauphin Concert Band, Eastman Community Band (Pinawa), Pinawa Stage Band, Prairie Red Coats Band (Somerset), and the Whitemouth Community Band.