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ESP Community Band's debut a hit

Posted: January 29, 2018

ESP Community Band's debut a hit

Members of the ESP Community Band performed to a
full house on Dec. 12. It was the band's first  perfor-
mance under the direction of Matthew Careless, below,
who said they'll take a break and begin rehearsing
again in January.

It's been almost 50 years since Fred Frost graduated from the music program at Brandon University.  He spent his working years in the classroom teaching - including music - and just about a year ago donated his instruments to a program where they'd be used by others.
So when he joined the East St. Paul Community Band in September, he was in a bit of a musical jam, so to speak.
"When I saw the announcement I thought I better join, but I'd already given the instruments (away) because I wanted them to be used," Frost, 73 laughed.
"So I had to go rent a clarinet."
He's glad he did.  On Dec. 12, Frost and the other members of the East St. Paul Community Band performed a mix of big band music and Christmas carols for the first time at the Albright Church.

Matthew Careless, who teaches band at Robert Andrews School and conducts the band, was thrilled with the success of their inaugural show.

"Everything went smooth ... it was tons of fun," Careless said following the performance.

"We had fun, hopefully the audience had fun.  It's gathering together, community and making music."

Nancy Lovenjak was in the audience and she not only enjoyed the performance but was inspired by it as well.

"When I'm retired, I might just do it, join the band," she said.

It was Careless who put out the call for members earlier this year and the group started rehearsals in September.  At the time, he didn't know who was going to show up, so he didn't really know what kind of band they'd end up with.

Turns out it's a fantastic mix that includes members in their teens who have just started playing and others who've played for many years.

"It's amazing the differing experiences, some people haven't played in 30 years and then there's people who are currently still playing in high school," Careless said.

Maria Kalmykova is 15 and has been playing alto sax for just four months.  She played the flute in junior high and plays piano as well.  She's just joined the jazz and concert band at Miles Macdonnell Collegiate and said it was her mom's idea for her to join the Community Band.

"My mom really wanted me to go, when she saw Mr. Careless put the post on Facebook she said, 'I love that director, you're going to this band'," she laughed. 

She said the concert was fun and is good practice for her high school bands.  She had no nerves before the performance, because she'd already performed twice with the school band.

"I had nerves for the first concert, but no nerves tonight," she said.

Frost was nerve-free as well,though he admitted it took him a while to get reacquainted with his instrument after not playing for a year.

Picking it up again was a good decision, and he said he couldn't be happier with the band and all the members.

"What really inspires me is the number of young people that are involved in the band," Frost said.

"This is very special, I hope it continues because it's very, very wonderful."

Careless said they'll take a break over the holidays and start back up again in January.  He said they're planning a spring concert and perhaps some performances in seniors residences as well.

If you're interested in joining the band, contact Careless at mcareless@retsd.mb.ca.



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