The tradition of musical excellence in Qualicum Beach continues with the Qualicum Beach Middle School (QBMS) band program completing a very successful year, according to music teacher Brent Kellas.
He reported that the Grade 7/8 Concert Band earned a silver medal at the Vancouver Island Concert Band Festival in Port Alberni, and then finished the year off by winning a gold medal at the Kiwanis Fraser Valley Music Festival in Langley.
The Concert Band was also awarded a trophy for being the most outstanding/promising band in their category at the Kiwanis Festival.
He agreed their three-day trip to Langley was a fun and educational experience.
He added that it was also an excellent year for the QBMS Jazz Combo as well.
“Since the number of jazz students was quite small this year, they decided to run a jazz combo instead of the usual jazz band. The students learned quite a bit about jazz improvisation, planning arrangements for their tunes, and working together as a group.
“They played a few local gigs, and earned a gold medal at the West Coast Jazz Festival, which was held at VIU,” he stated.
Four members of the combo were recognized by the festival adjudicators for their outstanding improvised solos. The foursome who impressed the panel were Justice Cote on drums, Sam Baglier on tenor sax, Caleb Borsboom on baritone sax, and Liam Hansson on guitar.
“I’m extremely pleased with our results this year. I am so proud of what the kids have accomplished, and they represented QBMS very well this year,” boasted Kellas.
He said the Concert Band students earned a silver medal rating in Port Alberni, but they also learned what had to be done to improve.
“They all wanted to win a gold in Langley, so they pulled together and worked on playing more musically and with greater expression. So a few weeks later they sounded like a much more mature group, and I was pretty sure that their performance would earn them a gold,” he recalled, and added, “The Jazz Combo kids have grown so much this year, and they are learning to improvise and arrange jazz tunes to fit their group. They are starting to listen to recordings and check out jazz musicians on YouTube. I can’t wait to hear what they’ll sound like at KSS in the future.”
He stated that this year’s group of Grade eights is very special to him because he taught them as beginning band students during his first year at QBMS.
“They have been with me for three years now, and I’m going to miss them terribly. They have been great leaders in the program, but I’m also excited to see the Grade 6 and sevens step up to take over from them.”