By Mabell, Dave on December 7, 2018.
After finishing their exams, most students look forward to time to unwind.
But not 50-plus music students at the University of Lethbridge. They’ll be flying west on Dec. 14 for a series of concerts in Taiwan.
There, the U of L Wind Orchestra will perform in the City of Chiayi International Band Festival, taking part in master classes and sectional sessions – as well as presenting some Canadian music.
“This is an invaluable experience for our students to play for different audiences and to interact with bands from all over the world,” says music professor Chee Meng Low.
The experience should “open the world to them, and provide them even more chances to perform.”
Members of the university’s Global Drums ensemble will also be part of the event, along with music department personnel Keith Griffioen, Adam Mason and Yukari Sasada.
The invitation came after an international audition process.
“We sent them a tape two years ago,” he says.
The invitation came last spring, and then staff and students began work on music selection, rehearsals – and the logistics of moving that many musicians and bulky instruments to the other side of the Pacific. And raising funds for the flight.
Indoor and outdoor concerts will be held at the National Chiayi University, Low explains.
“The host will be paying for our accommodation.”
A work by Tchaikovsky -“Dance of the Jesters” – is one of the U of L selections. But most of their music is much more modern, including several compositions by Edmonton musician Allan Gilliland.
The ensemble will also present a new symphonic poem “Taiwan,” by Japanese composer Toshio Mashima, and a Gilliland arrangement for “O Canada.”
The students will be returning to Canada on Dec. 20. But after a break, they’ll be preparing for a reciprocal experience – welcoming musicians from around the world to Lethbridge.
In February the U of L will play host to a four-day regional conference of the North American Saxophone Alliance. Public performance and participant details will be released in the new year.
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