Connection and joy: alumni gather for UPEI Wind Symphony reunion
A gaggle of about 60 musicians will get able to rehearse onstage on the Dr. Metal Recital Corridor at UPEI.
Over the chatter, there’s the trill of a flute, then the nice and cozy sound of a trombone and a clatter of snare drums.
It appears like the same old weekly rehearsal for the UPEI Wind Symphony, made up of wind, brass and percussion gamers, however there’s extra pleasure than common within the corridor.
“I have never been on this constructing in in all probability 20 years and it simply, it appears a bit of completely different, however the really feel is strictly the identical,” mentioned trumpeter Lisa Sanderson.
Sanderson is one in all many UPEI music graduates who returned to the campus’s music constructing for a wind symphony reunion Dec. 27-29.
“After I heard about this reunion, there was no manner I used to be going to overlook it,” mentioned Sanderson, who graduated in 2003 and went on to turn into a music trainer.
“Issues I exploit each single day in my each day life and with my college students, actually plenty of it has come from enjoying within the wind symphony, and that basis and from Dr. Simon,” she mentioned.
Karem Simon has carried out the group for twenty-four years. He will retire on the finish of this college yr, and because the present chair of the division, he is already handed over the group’s conducting duties to brass professor Dale Sorensen.
Simon had the concept for this reunion again in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled a March efficiency for the band.
“I assumed, ‘Why do not we deliver everybody again in December and have a post-Christmas reunion?'” mentioned Simon.
“Which for individuals who had graduated in 2020, it might have offered them with some closure. And for all the opposite alumni, it is a possibility to reconnect, rehearse and carry out.”
‘United because of this establishment’
The pandemic precipitated additional delays, and that is the third time the band has deliberate the reunion.
Most of the members are more moderen graduates or neighborhood members who play with the group often. However some, like Sanderson, returned for the primary time in a very long time.
“From my place on the rostrum I will look out and I see all of those musicians … it might be as a lot as 55 years within the distinction between the youngest and the oldest,” mentioned Simon.
“They’re united because of this establishment the place they’ve studied.”
That concept of unity among the many gamers additionally struck Sanderson.
“All of us have this connection by means of this stage and thru UPEI and thru Dr. Simon,” she mentioned. “It’s extremely humbling and it’s totally highly effective to consider all the lives which were modified by means of that ensemble.”
He evokes individuals to essentially work exhausting and make good music, and it’s totally thrilling to be in a room the place everyone is on his web page.— Rowan Fitzgerald
One saxophone participant is probably going the longest-standing member of the group onstage at present. Rowan Fitzgerald, a retired Charlottetown music trainer, has been with the band for 20 years.
“I like watching Karem work and I like being part of his ensembles,” mentioned Fitzgerald.
“He evokes individuals to essentially work exhausting and make good music, and it’s totally thrilling to be in a room the place everyone is on his web page, because it have been, and making music collectively. It is a joyous feeling.”
‘It is for the enjoyment’
These emotions of connection and pleasure are additionally what Sanderson strives to deliver to her personal ensembles at Harbour View Excessive College in Saint John, N.B., the place she teaches music.
Within the final 15 years, impressed by each her UPEI expertise and the college band applications she grew up enjoying in on P.E.I., Sanderson has created a band program on the college from the bottom up.
“I began with what was known as a stage band and it was simply whoever performed an instrument on the time,” mentioned Sanderson. “There have been 22 of us and it took nearly an entire yr to be taught one tune. It was the theme from Austin Powers. I’ll always remember it.”
She then lobbied to begin a Grade 9 band class, and this system grew from there.
“When [kids] be a part of a band, like, they did not know what they have been lacking, proper? There’s simply a lot pleasure there and a lot connection. So it was a simple promote. As soon as we acquired rolling, it was straightforward to deliver everyone into that neighborhood,” Sanderson mentioned.
There at the moment are 200 college students in Sanderson’s band program.
“Why can we be taught an instrument and play music?.… It is for the enjoyment and the ensemble enjoying, you realize. For the connection, the private pleasure but in addition the enjoyment within the group. And I feel that is, I’ve simply been chasing that ceaselessly,” she mentioned.
After simply two-and-a-half days of rehearsals, the reunion band gathers for its public efficiency in entrance of an appreciative viewers stuffed with household and associates.
Close to the top of this system, Fitzgerald surprises Simon by presenting him with a plaque and a guide of reminiscences from former college students.
After the present, Simon greets every musician backstage to say thanks and congratulations. There are handshakes, hugs and smiles.
“I really feel nice. The band performed superbly. The presentation was surprising — they caught me off guard,” mentioned Simon.
“It exceeded all expectations,” Sanderson mentioned of the live performance.
“There was simply an vitality in that room … it was essentially the most enjoyable I’ve had in a really very long time, and I’ve a fairly enjoyable life.”