BRANDON, MB — Every year, the top young woodwind, brass and percussion players from across the country gather to form the National Youth Band (NYB). This year, there are several Brandon University (BU) links. Four BU students are among the 53 musicians who make up this year’s edition of the prestigious ensemble. While the location changes every year, the high caliber remains constant. Following last year’s gathering at McGill University in Montreal, the 2012 locations for the NYB are Brandon University and the University of Manitoba.
“The National Youth Band of Canada allows youths aged 16 to 21 to join together for a week of rehearsals and performances that include excellent leadership, challenging repertoire, and meaningful rehearsal,” said Dr. Wendy McCallum, a faculty member in the BU School of Music and the current President of the Canadian Band Association (CBA). “This experience provides opportunities for individuals to extend musical skills, while developing relationships with musicians from across the nation. The National Youth Band is a significant program in the Canadian Band Association’s mandate to represent and support bands and band music across Canada.”
The BU students who auditioned and were chosen for the NYB are second-year alto saxophonist Lauren Dobko, second-year baritone saxophonist Madeline Lowe, first-year tuba player Tyler Lischynski and fourth-year percussionist Melissa Ballard. As well, this year’s Music Director Dr. Colleen Richardson, who is the University of Western Ontario’s Coordinator of Bands, the Wind Ensemble Director and an Assistant Professor, graduated from the BU School of Music in 1987.
In recent past NYB ensembles, there have been numerous BU students involved, including Corah and Suzu Enns, Jennifer Shead, Kena Olson, Julia Howe, Mikaela Oldenkamp, Wendy Stenger, Taryn Jackson, Joelle Nielsen, Sean Pullen, Derek Thorsteinsson as well as soon-to-be-graduates Holly Bryan, Ryan Premack and Chelsey Hiebert. Meanwhile BU School of Music alumnus and current Master of Music (Performance and Literature) candidate, clarinetist Chris Byman spent the 2007 to 2010 sessions with the NYB. He was able to travel to Prince Edward Island, Southern Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, thanks to this ensemble.
“NYB is a fantastic experience for young musicians in Canada. As the CBA holds the program in different cities around the country each year, it gives re-participating musicians (like me) a chance to not only travel the country, but interact with talented peers and world-class conductors,” said Byman. “The fact that Brandon is hosting a portion of NYB this year is exciting as it shows our city is making yet another national footprint in the arts community.”
The National Youth Band will give two concerts — at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. — Thursday, May 10, in the Western Centennial Auditorium. There are still some tickets left for both performances and will be available at the door.