The rise of the Wallaceburg Concert Band was meteoric



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More and more, I hear people talking about their “bucket list”.


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Growing up, I never heard that expression.

It is highly likely that the term was used widely due to the popular 2007 film “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

I think it’s a fantastic movie and I highly recommend it. It’s entertaining and food for thought.

However, while a lot of people have a “bucket list,” I don’t.

It’s not that I don’t have a lot of stuff to do, it’s just that I know my list is endless and a lot of those things are essentially unachievable for me.

These items are impractical for a number of reasons including my age, cost, physical demands, intellect or ability required, time required, etc.

Instead of a list of things I want to do, I tend to focus on things I don’t want to regret not doing.

Is there anything worse than regret?

I don’t know what Mirriam-Webster has to say about what a regret is, but I define it as “not taking advantage of a reasonable opportunity that presents itself”.

I will come back to this later.

In my role as Music Director of the Wallaceburg Concert Band, I believe I have several responsibilities.

Some of my responsibilities are defined but the most important, at least for me, is not.

I believe it is my responsibility to bring new people into our organization, and I take this seriously.

I try to do this by making our rehearsal and concert experiences warm, friendly, fun and rewarding.

I am constantly on the lookout for experienced musicians and people who want to learn how to play an instrument.


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The meteoric rise of WCB is due to the incredible support of our community and our ability to attract musicians from a very wide area.

We have managed to bring together an amazing team of musicians, executive members, grant writers, the support of our municipality, the Wallaceburg Arts Council and you!

When I started the band I called on other musicians that I have continued to play with over the years, former students and anyone outside of our community who was interested.

Former students who hadn’t played for years answered the call and we left.

As we always attract new, experienced musicians (even during COVID), I looked into my crystal ball and saw clouds on the distant horizon.

As exciting and big as our band is right now, without training new musicians or having a “power system”, it is simply a fact that the band will have a finite life.

Successful organizations always look to the future and plan, and that’s what we try to do.

For the first three years of our groups’ existence, we had a beginner’s learning program, and it flourished.

The Wallaceburg Arts Council negotiated a three-year deal with the LKDSB allowing us to use unused instruments from my old music program (a great situation as you should never put a brand new instrument in the hands of a beginner. !) but for reasons I won’t discuss, WDSS has removed our rehearsal space and requested the return of their instruments.


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It actually killed our learning to play program, but we’re not pancakes!

As most know, our band has landed on its feet in an even better rehearsal room, continues to grow, has an established group of musicians eager to resume rehearsals and concerts, and an executive determined to resuscitate our newbie, learn to -the game program.

I’ve said it before, but if I had a dime for every person who told me “I wish I had learned to play an instrument,” I could challenge Jeff Bezos for the title of “Richest Man.” of the world ” !

While this may be a slight exaggeration, it is a common statement and, of course, a statement of regret.

I now ask every reader, “Have you ever considered learning to play a wind instrument”?

This is an opportunity for each and everyone to take advantage of an opportunity which, I promise you, will only give you a positive experience.

Even if by chance you don’t succeed in trying to learn to play an instrument, I guarantee that you will enjoy the experience, that you will make new friends and most importantly, that you will have no regrets if you don’t. have tried.

I’ve heard all the excuses already. “I can’t read music“. “I am too old to learn”. “There is no one in my family who is musical”. “I don’t have time” “I hated my piano lessons”. “I have no instrument to train me”. Etc.

None of these excuses are acceptable my friends!

If you can attend rehearsals every week and are willing to give your best, we’ll teach you how to read music, essential musical terminology, put an instrument in your hands, and help you learn to play.


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It is an extremely fun trip and once you have developed some basic skills and have the opportunity to be part of a group you will get hooked.

Absolutely everyone loves music in one way or another, whether it’s listening to it, dancing or singing it, but I always say “nothing really beats MAKING the music everyone loves. “.

Yes, it’s great to have your friends, family, and strangers in an audience come over to hear you play, and the applause is great to hear, but the intrinsic rewards are indescribable.

While I never understood why some people wait until their golden years to do things that they could have done from the start and enjoyed for many years, let me be clear…. age does not concern us.

There is a comprehensive program for seniors called “New Horizons” that is thriving in many places, but we do not have the population base to support this program.

The point is, the New Horizons program is proof that seniors are the most capable of learning to play an instrument.

But let me be clear, we are not just looking for seniors. We are looking for people of all ages.

There are physical and academic limitations for the younger ones, so if you’re under 13 we should have a conversation first.

And for those of you who played an instrument “years ago”, remember that people have come to us after 40 years of inactivity, so consider joining us. (We have a particular need for clarinetists at the moment)

Dan and I rarely hear from readers, but if you are interested in joining us or know someone who is, please contact me at 519-627-9803.

You won’t regret it and can cross it off your bucket list!



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