Alberni’s EJ Dunn band golden in Whistler

Members of the EJ Dunn Grade 8 band wait their turn to compete at the Con Brio Whistler Music Festival last week.

Members of the EJ Dunn Grade 8 band wait their turn to compete at the Con Brio Whistler Music Festival last week.

Forty-seven members of the EJ Dunn Middle School Concert Band travelled to Whistler to perform in the Con Brio Whistler Music Festival last week.

The Port Alberni band impressed the audience and adjudicators, earning a gold rating for their performance.

Under the direction of teacher Margot McNally, the Grade 8 band received considerable praise for their golden performance.   Adjudicator Michael Burch-Pesses had this to say about the Grade 8 Band’s performance: “I need to pay you a compliment. I have heard all the bands perform this morning. Some of them in Grade 10 and 11. Your band has the best pitch, best articulation, and best dynamic contrast I have heard this morning.

“Great performance. You deserve a lot of credit. Your teacher and conductor deserves a lot of credit. She has done a great job with you.”

The music festival, featuring schools from all over British Columbia and Alberta, had more than 1,500 students participating. In addition to watching other school bands and choirs perform, EJ Dunn Band members were treated to a concert featuring a number of talented musicians including singer Marcus Mosley and the Troy University Symphony Band, which travelled all the way from Troy Alabama.

On Sunday morning the Grade 8 students and the other festival participants crowded into the Whistler Conference Centre.  Together with careful direction and an incredible amount of organization, the students formed a 1,200-piece mass band to perform two songs.

“To see 1,200 students that had never come together before playing difficult songs in unison was definitely an impressive feat,” chaperone James Messenger said.

In addition to the music festival activities students also got to take advantage of some of the other things Whistler has to offer. They visited the Whistler museum, shopped, walked, and ate a lot of the tasty treats.  The students were excellent ambassadors for their school and received kudos from parent chaperones Lori Behnke, Karen La Prade, Dianne Preedy, and Roman Wiatr.

With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, so too is the Grade 8 band’s time together.