The Vic returns to CCHS
Once again, the Vic Lewis Band Festival – “The Vic” as it’s become known – with more than 800 young musicians from across the province, is descending upon Canmore this weekend.
The festival takes place Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 3-4), from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Canmore Collegiate High School and Canmore Recreation Centre.
“It’s a pretty cool weekend, and it’s a non-competitive festival, so there’s no awards or pressure to get a gold, it’s just to come and play and learn, that’s the message,” said festival producer Tracy Wilkins.
“Everyone should come – the high school is the concert band venue and the rec centre is the jazz band venue” she explained. “You can come and listen to these bands play, and also we have concerts at 1 p.m. – Saturday my staff is going to play for the kids, and then the jazz concert is Sunday.”
With 32 big bands coming for the festival, several local sponsors have stepped forward to offer accommodation and meals.
“They stay all over the place in Canmore, we have several huge sponsors,” said Wilkins. “The Chateau Canmore, Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge… Tourism Canmore hooked up with a lot of hotels and restaurants throughout the Bow Valley.”
This year the festival also has a big fundraising concert Saturday evening, open to the public, featuring Bellita y Jazztumbata from Cuba, at Cornerstone Theatre.
“Usually the concert is just for the kids, but we’ve had a lot of feedback that people want to come and see what the kids get to see,” said Wilkins.
The festival also welcomes four guest directors, coming from Los Angeles, Oregon, Toronto and Edmonton.
“There’s two concert band guys and two jazz band guys, and they work with all the bands and teachers and give them a different perspective, a fresh look at the music and a different idea of how it should sound.”
While it is still early in the school year, this festival gives students a good chance to hone their music, said Wilkins.
“It’s quite early in the school year, the first week of November, so there’s a lot of pressure on them, but we try to alleviate that by having them come and play and learn,” she said. “It’s a really cool weekend, and when they’re not playing for the guest directors, they have private clinics.”
A full schedule of the festival’s events can be found online at mountainartsfoundation.com
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