The Mount Baker Jazz Ensemble

The Mount Baker Jazz Ensemble

Mount Baker Music launches season with first concert

Mount Baker Music's season debut takes place Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m., at the Key City Theatre.

Barry Coulter

The Mount Baker Music Program is holding its first concert of the school year next week, to celebrate the Halloween “season,” and to launch awareness and fundraising efforts following an invitation to the U.K.’s largest youth music festival next spring.

Mount Baker Music’s season debut takes place Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m., at the Key City Theatre.

Music Director Evan Bueckert says the opening concert features a lot of “brand new talent,” musicians and singers in their first year of high school.

“All the groups are newfound, with new personality,” Bueckert said. “We’ve got a great enthusiastic new crop of people. Once again the feeder schools (Cranbrook’s middle schools) have sent me amazing, talented kids. We’ve got terrific enrollment — numbers are really high in all of the groups. We’ve got 100 singers in the choir, 50 each in the junior and senior concert bands. The jazz ensembles, those are a set size, but there’s a waiting list and lots of auditions for those. We’re rock-n-rollin’.”

Five different groups are performing on Wednesday, and on the bill is a focus on “scary music.”

“Even though we just barely missed Halloween itself, we’re going to ignore that and pretend its still happening,” Bueckert said. “And we’re all going to be in costume for the show.”

Some of the featured works include Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” music from Tim Burton’s film “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and Canadian composer Stephen Reineke renowned piece “Witch and the Saint” — a one movement symphonic band piece describing the lives of Helena and Sibylla; twin sisters born in Germany at the end of the 16th century.

And the vocal jazz group will doing some more light-hearted stuff, including the theme from the ’60s animated series Spiderman. “Is he strong? Listen, Bud! He’s got radioactive blood!”

Admission is by donation, and monies collected will go towards a proposed trip to the Hallowgate Music Festival in the U.K’, an exciting development in the ongoing adventures of Mount Baker Music.

“After the kids did so well in Whistler (last year’s music festival), they took notice of us and wanted to invite us to the next level up, in Britain in the spring,” Bueckert said. “This is a big opportunity for us, for the choir and the band over the Easter week. We’re trying to pitch that right now to the parent group. Donations from the concert will go towards that amazing trip.”

Harrowgate is the biggest youth music festival in the U.K., for high school and college aged kids, and with choir categories, jazz, instrumental, vocal, even a dance element. Lots of amazing brass bands, Bueckert says. The festival is located just outside of the city of York, four hours north of London. Performances will take place amidst old Roman ruins and medieval castle walls.

For more information on the Harrowgate Youth Music Festival trip, contact Evan Bueckert at MBSS, 250-426-5241, or check out Mount Baker Music’s Facebook page.