Concert Band

Introduction

At St. George's we have seven concert bands that over 400 boys from Grades 6 through 12 participate in. The boys have their first experience on trumpet and clarinet in Grade 5 music classes and then form a full concert band in Grade 6. They proceed from there to the Grade 7 Concert Band, the Junior Concert Band (Grade 8), the Intermediate Concert Band (Grade 9), and the Senior Concert Band (Grades 10-12). The Senior Concert Band is then divided into the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble.

Junior Concert Band

This ensemble is composed of all students who are registered in Band 8. Most students will have two or three years experience on a band instrument, but some will be starting an instrument for the very first time. As a result, for the first two months of school, classes will be divided into two groups.

All students with experience on a band instrument will review the fundamentals of playing an instrument before working on more advanced topics. Those who are starting a band instrument for the very first time will be placed on a special course of study. Here, they will have the available instruments demonstrated to them. After selecting one, each student will proceed at an accelerated rate and ultimately be integrated into the 'experienced' class by mid November. Those who are ready earlier will make the transition sooner.

Grade 8 Band is a performance-oriented course. That is, most of the time will be spent learning about music by playing it. Topics covered include tone, articulation, dynamics, blend, balance, intonation, rhythm, style, and interpretation. Time will be spent learning how to play instruments better, as well as how to properly perform in an ensemble. In addition, part of the year will be spent working on chamber music. As the terms progress, the student will learn enough theory and history (mainly through discussion) in order to help him become a better performer in general. Band 8 is a full year elective.

The Music Department uses a wide variety of methods to study these topics including: listening to CDs, watching videos, reading various handouts, and making recordings in addition to playing instruments. However, through all this, it is the music itself that will remain most important and at the center of attention. Each student will experience a great variety of pieces with contrasting styles and increasing technical demands. How quickly he develops is directly related to his own personal preparation. The more effort he applies, the greater his rewards will be.

One of the most exciting and important features about learning to play an instrument is participating in a large performing ensemble. Band 8 students will perform in the 'Junior Concert Band'. There is a large performing ensemble for each grade at St. George's.

Intermediate

The Intermediate Concert Band is for students in Grade 9 who are in their third or fourth year of playing a band instrument. The course is designed to develop your playing skills to that of the Senior Concert Band through technical work and the playing of varied repertoire.

Each term will focus on particular aspects of performance that will help the student to become more facile and expressive on his instrument, both as an individual and as a member of the full ensemble. He will be involved in concerts, workshops, festivals, small ensembles, listening assignments and special projects. He will be encouraged to be an active member of his section and the ensembles in which he plays.

There will also be opportunities at various times throughout the year to participate in solo and ensemble festivals, honour bands or other extra performing experiences.

Senior Concert Band

Senior Concert Band is offered to students in Grades 10, 11, and 12. Repertoire is the focus because good music is at the very heart of why we play instruments. People like to listen to good music. Many of us learn instruments so that we can then play the music we like. Unfortunately, very few of us are familiar with more than a couple of different styles or types of music. As such, the Music Department exposes the Senior Concert Band student to a wide variety of band music; music that he would otherwise not encounter.

Over the next three years, the student will have a chance to learn the recognized masterworks of the concert band repertoire. By the time he graduates, he will be able to sit in with any band and be able to easily perform those pieces that have been in the fundamental repertoire for many years. The Music Department staff introduce this repertoire during our the three weeks of the first term. as the year unfolds, additional pieces specifically written for symphonic band and wind ensemble will be added.

Another interesting dimension to the Senior Concert Band program is the staff regularly record students for the purpose of analysis. The objective is to help the student make faster progress as an ensemble player through listening to what he sounds like from the audience's perspective.

Symphonic Band

This ensemble of up to 75 performers is composed of students in grades 10, 11, and 12. They perform works which are often referred to as 'cornerstone' in the repertoire, within a large ensemble setting. This ensemble plays works that tend to be more symphonic in nature. Past concerts have included selections such as Carl Orff's 'Carmina Burana', Modest Mussorgsky's 'Great Gate of Kiev' from 'Pictures at an Exhibition', and Gustav Holst's 'First Suite in Eb for Military Band'.

Wind Ensemble

The St. George's Wind Ensemble is an auditioned group of about 45 musicians. The players in the group enjoy the challenge of playing music one player per part. This allows them greater freedom of individual expression than in the larger ensembles and demands greater responsibility on the part of each member.

This ensemble typically performs repertoire at a university level and has performed such works as Grainger's 'Lincolnshire Posy,' David Holsinger's 'Liturgical Dances' and Adam Gorb's 'Awayday'. Currently, they are performing Samuel Hazo's 'Ride', Malcolm Arnold's 'Four Scottish Dances', and Derek Bourgeious' 'Serenade'. They have recently been selected to perform at MusicFest Canada, our national music festival.

General Resources

Following are a number of links of interest to all members of the concert band program. You will find links to other concert bands, and links to material about bands in general and music in general. For information regarding music theory, please follow the links to the Theory part of the web site. Please contact Mr. Rnic or Dr. Markel if you have requests regarding additional material that you would like to see on this site.

General Music
Grove Music Online Encyclopedia - 'the world's premiere authority on all aspects of music'
All Music Guide - 'The' user created online music reference
Arts Canada - CBC Radio - A window the Canadian arts scene
Music Dictionary Online

Concert Band Resources
Concert Bands and Wind Ensembles
Eastman Wind Ensemble - The first Wind Ensemble
Northshore Concert Band - Perhaps the most famous community band
US Marine Band - One of the top American Forces Bands
US Air Force Band - One of the top American Forces Bands
US Army Band - One of the top American Forces Bands
Dallas Wind Symphony - One of the top professional bands in the US

Local Music Businesses
Tom Lee Music - instrument sales/rentals, repairs, sheet music, electronics
Northwest Music - instrument sales/rentals, repairs, sheet music
Ward Music / Long & McQuade - instrument sales/rentals, repairs, sheet music
Prussin Music - instrument sales/rentals, repairs, sheet music
Backun Music - instrument repair and sales
Founded in 1930, St. George's School is a world-class boys' university preparatory school, offering a day program in Grades 1-12 and an Urban Boarding program in Grades 8-12. With 1150 students, 109 of whom are boarders from over 20 countries worldwide, St. George's School truly is Canada's World School for Boys.
St. George’s School
Junior Campus: 3851 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada V6S 1T6
Senior Campus: 4175 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada V6S 1V1
604-224-1304 | info@stgeorges.bc.ca
CONTACT US | LEGAL