They did it again! After a jump in category this year, the St. Andrew’s Platinum Band remain triple-gold winners despite heavier competition.
When hundreds of students and educators gathered Monday at Le Parc in Markham for MusicFest Regionals, SAC musicians had high hopes of achieving a top standing. The change to Level 400 for the Platinum Band and to Level 200 for the Middle School Band meant tougher competition for both groups.
“From the moment the baton went up, the boys took the notes on the page and made truly magical music,” said Ms. Sandi Chasson, Head of Music.
Level 400 means the Platinum Band, made up of the most talented Wind Ensemble members, now competes against bands from arts high schools, colleges, and universities. These bands rehearse almost daily, while St. Andrew’s students only practice one evening a week. “This is quite an accomplishment for our boys,” Ms. Chasson added enthusiastically.
After winning the regional championship for 12 consecutive years at Level 300, and earning triple-gold status at nationals every year they have entered, it was time to up their competition. Representing at this level for the first time, Ms. Chasson said she is “so proud of the largest team in the School,” with 50 Upper School students participating.
The boys also learned a new mantra from Dr. Brendan Caldwell, an American adjudicator from Cleveland, Ohio when he spoke of their outstanding performance: “Make the impossible possible; make the possible easy; turn easy into elegance.” Dr. Caldwell is an associate professor of conducting and director of wind ensembles at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music.
The Middle School Band also fared extremely well at their new Level 200 category earning a silver medal and an invitation to nationals. They were the only elementary school band in this category. “We played exceptionally well,” said Mr. John Richardson, Middle School Band Director.
Later in the week, at the Director's Social for MusicFest and the Ontario Band Association (OBA), the band was awarded the Brass Award for the most outstanding brass section. In addition, Ms. Chasson was awarded the prestigious Conductor Award for top conductor at the festival.
Both bands qualified to represent Ontario at MusicFest Nationals, an elite competition held in rotating cities across Canada annually. The 43rd annual competition takes place May 11-16 in Toronto.
You can catch these award-winning bands in action when they perform March 4 at the SAC Musical Extravaganza. The two-hour show will be pop-themed and feature performances by the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, vocal soloists, and the always-spectacular Pipes & Drums. With Ketchum Auditorium still closed for renovations, the event takes place once again at the Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts.
Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased online through the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts or by calling its box office at 905-787-8811. Call early for best seats as tickets will be issued on a first come, first-served basis.
Story by Nicolette Fleming