After a couple of months of rehearsals and preparation, the Mount Baker Secondary School Music Department is launching an intense musical month of November, beginning with its first concert of the year Tuesday, Nov. 5.
All six of the department’s performance groups are taking the stage at the Key City Theatre, says MBSS Music Instructor Evan Bueckert.
“It’s like being born again every September, with a whole new crew of students,” Bueckert said. “We’ve get some great students from the feeder schools (Kootenay Christian Academy and Laurie and Parkland Middle Schools) and we put them all together into one concert band — the Junior Concert Band, which is kicking off the concert.
“A lot of these younger students have talked about how they’ve gone to see Baker concerts over the years, and how much they admired the musicians. So now they get to take the stage themselves. It’s very exciting.”
Every year, Bueckert said, there is a new Baker sound, with the new and veteran musicians, new balances, new repertoire. Tuesday’s program offers a chance for the ensembles to jump in with both feet, and showcase that new sensibility for the year to come.
Following the Junior Concert Band performance the Senior Concert Band will take the stage. “After they perform, we’re bringing out the fabulous Mount Baker Tour Choir, that’s going to Vienna and Prague at the end of November,” Bueckert said. “They’re going to give the audience one piece — a teaser — and when we get back from Europe we’re going to give a Christmas concert.”
After the Tour Choir performance, the stage will fill with the rest of the concert choir — 120 voices — who will perform some “fun pop tunes just to get things going, some Stevie Wonder and some Coldplay.”
Then after an intermission, the Jazz ensembles will perform, starting with the Vocal Jazz Ensemble — 16 select students who auditioned and who’ve been hand-picked — and accompanying rhythm section. The concert will finish up with the 25-piece Jazz Band. “It’s usually the most raucous of the ensembles,” Bueckert said, “with lots of soloing and improvising.”
The concert takes place Tuesday, Nov. 5, showtime at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.). Admission is by donation. Bueckert said all donations are going to help the Choir on its trip to Europe, which takes place at the end of November. The MBSS Choir has been invited to take part in an international choir festival in Vienna, and is the only Canadian group to be appearing. They will perform at the main hall at Vienna City Hall, and also at the 1,000-year-old Melk Abbey just outside Vienna, reputed to have the best acoustics in Europe.
“People travel from all over the world just to hear choirs there,” Bueckert said.
Following the Vienna sojourn, the Choir will travel to Prague in the Czech Republic, as a more informal adventure. Bueckert said they will be performing five shows at local high schools, meeting other students, singing for each other and comparing notes.