Jake Wiebe on the drum

Sardis drumline goes international

Sardis secondary's drumline will be performing in China over 10 days in March.

Sardis secondary’s drumline is China bound.

From March 12-22, Chilliwack’s famed high school band will be performing all through Beijing, Shanghai, and surrounding areas.

Conductor Bruno Gagnon isn’t sure what kind of reaction they’ll receive.

“I hope I don’t get thrown in jail; I’m a little unorthodox,” he laughed. “I don’t know, maybe they’ll hate it, or maybe they’ll think it’s crazy and love it.”

What’s not to love?

Last Friday, when the school was dark from no power, and when most students had already ventured home, the drumline musicians remained in the school practicing, just as they do on most weekends and holidays.

In the near black studio, with their toms, snares and bass drums in practice form, they produced a beat that filled your ears and pounded on your chest, that had shivers crawling up your spine and wide-mouthed smiles glittering your face. Typical drumline style.

But for China, the band is switching things up a bit.

In addition to its usual funked up beat, the drumline will also be incorporating traditional Chinese culture out of respect for the country.

The first number is a jasmine folk song where the cymbals will open up like a jasmine flower. Later, the band will “funk up the beat” for that same song. It will also be putting its stamp on a traditional lion dance, featuring a white lion.

“We’ll do what Sardis does best,” said Gagnon. “We’ll jack it up a bit and hopefully they’ll like it.”

Gagnon is currently in negotiations with country officials for permission to play at the Great Wall of China, the Bund waterfront, and under the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. He also hopes to play at the Beijing Contemporary Music Academy.

“It’s going to be a challenge to play in China because they don’t like crowds gathering,” he said. “But we’re working on it… hopefully we’ll make a name for ourselves in China and be invited back.”

Started by Gagnon four years ago, the drumline has been on quite a run.

They’ve played the Olympics, major sporting events, several parades, were hired by the PNE, and more.

Just this year the band was hired, at $3,500, to perform an after party for Seaspan after it was awarded an $8 billion ship-building contract. It was also hired by international tennis tournament the Davis Cup, also at $3,500, and by Holt Renfrew, at $1,000, over the Christmas holidays to feature 12 drummers drumming. The band also performed in the Grey Cup parade, the Macy’s Day parade in Seattle, and in front of the Seattle Seahawks crowd.

“The response to the band in North America has been phenomenal,” said Gagnon, who hopes to generate the same response in China.

“We’re a unique band, and I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction we get in China, but you never know what kind of response you’ll get until you do it.”

With just over a month before departure, the band is in major fundraising mode. The cost per student is $2,000, plus cost of visas, cost of equipment cases and equipment preparations.

A one-hour benefit concert is being held at Sardis secondary on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., proceeds of which go 100 per cent to student travel costs.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the school.

For more information, call Sardis secondary at 604-858-9424.



Just Posted

Third storm in a week hits Chilliwack

Power knocked out to about 2,600 BC Hydro customers

Chilliwack Chiefs rally falls one short in loss to Langley

The Rivermen jumped out to a 4 goal lead then hung on for a 4-3 win at Prospera Centre.

UPDATED: Gunfire erupts in quiet Langley neighbourhood early this morning

Police have 79A Avenue cordoned off after reports of shots just before 5 a.m.

Search continues near Ashcroft for missing Prince George woman

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Prevailing in the face of adversity

Chilliwack pilot living life to fullest will speak at UFV Oct. 23

VIDEO: Daze of Derby hosts teams from around B.C. and Washington

Reformatted tourney squeezed all the action into a one-day event.

10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read