SIDNEY — For someone who has made music such an integral part of his life for almost 80 years, local musician Peter Gardner got off to a rocky start.
“I had absolutely no interest in music during my early years,” he said. “Couldn’t wait for piano lessons to be over so this eight year old could go fishing in Colquitz Creek, which ran through our property. There was however a hint of interest when I got to Victoria High School and listened attentively to the school’s big band.”
Now 83, Peter Gardner is the most senior member of the Sidney Concert Band and has played clarinet in the band since 2007. He also enjoys writing music and in fact Peter’s arrangement of “Nice ‘n Easy” will be performed during the band’s Spring concert “SCB’s Got Talent!” on Sunday, May 27 at 2 p.m. in the Mary Winspear Centre.
Looking back, Peter can trace his true passion for music back to 1954, after seeing one particular Hollywood movie.
“The thing that really hooked me on music was seeing The Glenn Miller Story at the age of 19 – the only movie I’ve ever sat through twice. I was fascinated by that sound. I took clarinet and saxophone lessons shortly thereafter from Reg Wood, who also offered an introductory music theory class to interested students. That was my only semi-formal brush with music composition. After that, I listened to a Seattle radio station that played a lot of big band era music. I found myself humming along, not with the melody, but the accompaniment. So my arranging talent must have been in there all along, waiting for a chance to get out.”
Seventy-six-year-old Jim Kingham has been with the Sidney Concert Band for 15 years and will be featured playing an alto saxophone solo in Illuminations. Jim has been playing wind instruments since his early teens, first on clarinet with his high school and university orchestras, and then throughout the 1960s on saxophone with a four-piece combo.
“The work with the combo was great fun and a big help in paying my university fees” recalls Jim, who was also the Band Major for both the Eastwood Collegiate and the McMaster University marching bands.
In addition to his instrumental playing, Jim has sung with various choral groups, ranging from the 100-voice Lysenko Chorale in Toronto to the barbershop harmony of the Victoria Village Squires. Over the years, he has played and sung vocals with the Swiftsure Big Band and is currently a member of the Saxophoria quintet, playing alto sax and performing vocals there as well. Jim continues to be the Master of Ceremonies for the Peninsula Singers concerts – a position he has held for the past 12 years. As if that wasn’t enough, Jim has also played clarinet, saxophone and sung with the Peninsula Singers from time to time.
At 17, Ryan Kelly is the youngest and newest member of the trumpet section, although Ryan has been affiliated with SCB for several years through the local Kittyhawk air cadet band program and his school bands. Ryan is currently in Grade 12 at Parkland Secondary School, where he plays first trumpet with the school’s concert band and jazz band. Playing solo trumpet in Soaring for the SCB Spring concert will be a personal highlight for this young musician.
“Being able to play in the SCB has allowed me to challenge myself and discover my full potential. I’ve learned new playing techniques from the veteran musicians in the band and have enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned with the other kids in my school band.”
In addition to these featured SCB musicians, special guest vocalist Jill Galt will perform the Gershwin classic They Can’t Take that Away from Me and the Rodgers and Hart standard Blue Moon. Jill is a well-known fixture on the Victoria music scene and has been performing for over 30 years, having begun her career singing, dancing and playing music at the age of four. She continues to perform and record as well as provide expert vocal coaching to dedicated vocal students.
Under the directorship of Conductor Bruce Ham, the Sidney Concert Band will also perform a wide range of musical styles from Mozart’s Overture to the Magic Flute and the March from Holst’s First Suite for Band to Highlights from Camelot and Seventy-Six Trombones from The Music Man.
Tickets for this family-friendly concert are $15 and available through the Mary Winspear box office at 250-656-0275 or online at tickets.marywinspear.ca.
— Submitted by Yvonne Kupsch, Sidney Concert Band