Strike up the band

The school year might be drawing to a close, but there's lots going on with R.D. Parker Collegiate's band department.

For example, three students have been selected to take part in the Manitoba Provincial Honour Bands this year - Grade 9 percussionist Chanel Shumka will be in the Intermediate age-group band, while Grade 8 percussionist Rhys Hykawy, and Grade 8 bass clarinetist Vatineh Magaji will be in the Junior age-group band.

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This was the second year Shumka was named to the band, and the first for Hykawy and Magaji. All three first had to audition for the band - by sending in a recording of them playing difficult pieces that required many hours of practice - before they could be accepted. They are the only students from north of Winnipeg to be selected this year.

"We are extremely proud of the great work and determination these three students put in," said band teacher Kevin Lewis. "We have been lucky enough to have students consistently selected for these bands each year - it's a testament to the hard work and success our students have in the R.D. Parker music program."

Additionally, three students - Daniel Palmer, Leah Derksen, and Brayden Schroeder - were invited to perform onstage with the Brandon University Jazz Ensemble during the Brandon Jazz Festival, while two students - Daniel Palmer and Natalie Pegus - have decided to continue their music education by being accepted into the School of Music at Brandon University.

It's also the season for concerts and festivals for the various band ensembles.

This week, the Grade 7 Band travels to Brandon to perform at the Level One Band Festival. Then, in mid-May, the Adrenaline Jazz Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Without a Pulse will head to Moose Jaw to participate in the 65th Annual Kinsmen Band and Choral Festival.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in hearing some of these ensembles for themselves will be able to do so on May 4 - tonight - as the Senior Concert Band and Senior Choir headline an evening of performances at a concert at 7 p.m. in St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church on Cree Road. The location was selected for the second year in a row due to its superior acoustics.

Several year-end concerts, including Cabaret and a performance by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, are scheduled for the first half of June.

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