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Epic concert at NACC

By Daron Letts
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 11, 2008

"It's going to be epic," said music student A.J. Collins.

The confident clarinetist with the Sir John Franklin concert band was describing A Season to Celebrate, a large concert scheduled for Dec. 17 at Northern Arts and Cultural Centre.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Sir John Franklin high school concert band xylophone player Belinda Bredmore taps out a tune. She is part of the "epic" show this year -- called A Season to Celebrate -- Dec. 17 at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre.

About 50 musicians fill this year's concert band, many of whom will also take the stage with the school's 17-member jazz band. Music director Bill Gilday conducts.

"This is one of the biggest concert bands we've ever had," said baritone and jazz pianist Victoria Merritt. "All instruments in the score are covered."

The music ranges from rare and traditional carols to jazz and contemporary compositions. The student choir is also featured in the repertoire.

"It's a really wide variety of music," Merritt continued.

Members of both bands are using the concert to raise funds for a trip to Red Deer, Alta., in May for a national band competition and workshop through the Alberta Band Association High School Music Festival. The jazz band is also organizing club gigs in Edmonton as part of the trip.

This week the musicians are recording a sample of songs for release on disc. Concert goers can purchase their Christmas Variations album at next week's concert, with all funds supporting the musicians' spring excursion.

With the stage packed with more young, dedicated musicians than ever before, the performers are hopeful the NACC audience will be packed, as well.

"It would be great to have a full house," said percussionist Taryn Williams.

Tickets are on sale today through the NACC box office.