The Big Band Theory

The Big Band Theory

The Langley Fine Arts School Senior Wind Ensemble held an Invitational Festival in the Chief Sepass Theatre on Thursday, March 1st. This festival consisted of performances from three different educational institutions, Langley Fine Arts School, Johnston Heights Secondary, and Kwantlen University.

Johnston Heights, under the direction of Director Keith Honeywell, was a third and new addition to the group this year. They stunned the audience with their quality of music and musicianship as well as outstanding commitment to their art form. Keith Honeywell jokingly commented that this year’s group was the best, and the truth to that statement really shone through in their music.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University, under the direction of Director Wayne Jeffrey, contributed again this year by bringing with them their own style, technique and professionalism greatly attributed to the institution. Their set consisted of five pieces representing Europe in the styles of English, Italian, Irish, German and then back to England with some up beat Klezmer music. The ensemble included three of our very own LFAS alumni including Justin Bury, Gillian White, and Blake Gervais. The group also consisted of a few select high school students, Simon Fraser University Students and even a student from the Nursing program. This diversity was a perfect representation of Kwantlen’s inclusive philosophy.

Our very own Langley Fine Arts School ended their set with a complicated piece by Gustav Holst called “Mars” which is part of Holst’s “Planet Series.” This type of university level music is common for the Langley Fine Arts School Wind Ensemble, with intense percussion and high range that isn’t usually viable for the average high school. Jordan Smith, a grade 11 percussion player in the ensemble commented on the uniqueness of Langley Fine Arts School education.

“LFAS is a learning institution, not a regular high school,” he notes.

Rob Goddard, director of the Langley Fine Arts School Senior Wind Ensemble shared Smith’s opinions on the reputation of the school. When asked about the purpose of the event he noted the annoyance of redundant performances at local competitions and festivals with little to no audience appreciation. He said that while many high schools in the area have great bands and directors, none of them have the opportunities LFAS students have to learn and perfect their music. This level of commitment gives LFAS students an edge that needed to be matched and shared with similar musicians, as well as with an appreciative and attentive audience. “This night,” said Goddard, “is an opportunity to invite high quality ensembles to share repertoire and musicianship.” A goal that was completed in full.

The night presented a productive use of the student’s musical energy while allowing them the abilities to share their new and more complex music.

Alex Carlsen, a trumpet player at LFAS remarked upon the success of the show,

“It was a great night! All of the groups did really well. We all had difficult repertoire but pulled it off and everything sounded great. I would love to do it again!”

During this yearly tradition students and teachers alike get a huge amount out of the evening’s festivities, and will continue to in the years to come.

Story and Pictures by Lucy Clarkson

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