For three decades the Chilliwack Community Band has been sharing their love of music with the people of Chilliwack, and it’s all out of the goodness of their hearts.
“Musicians join because they love to play,” says conductor Trischa Buhler of the volunteer-based group. “Part of what a community band is, is you are providing a service to the community.”
An ad in the Chilliwack Progress in October, 1987 read ‘Dust off your horn and blow up a storm. Join the newly formed Chilliwack Community Adult Band.’
Since then, they’ve been doing just that at community events.
Trumpet player Clark Kerr is one of the original members, and still plays with the band.
“I was there the first night it began at Sardis high school,” he recalls. “There was a really big crowd. There were quite a few ex-military musicians who’d not had an outlet for playing music until we were formed.”
Chilliwack Community Band was started by Dale Warr who was the co-conductor of the band — along with Tim Wright — for 29 years, up until the spring of this year when Buhler took the reins.
The band is made up of a small group of musicians ranging in age from high school students to retirees. There are about 15 members, but Buhler is expecting the band to double in size once the season starts up again in September.
Over the years the band has “waxed and waned” says Kerr. “There have been really great musicians who have played in the group.”
The members all have years of music experience. They must know the basics like how to read music. They need to have good sound-production skills and they need to know what they’re supposed to be doing on a piece of music.
Buhler helps with the rest.
“I get to do the fun stuff. I get to put the icing on the cake,” she says. “I help weave all the different pieces together.”
And she loves it.
“I like encouraging people to play the best that they can and sound good. I’m fortunate in that the players are already really good.”
The band has about 10 gigs a year. You’ve likely seen them at community events like the Terry Fox Run, where they play background music for the participants as they’re running across the finish line, the Canada Day pancake breakfast where they perform the national anthem, and the Battle of Britain ceremony.
“I want people to have fun. That’s what it’s mostly about,” says Buhler.
The Chilliwack Community Band starts its 30th season in September. The first rehearsal is set for Sept. 8, and they practise every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The band’s season continues until its last performance on Canada Day, after which the members take a break for the summer.
They are always looking for new members. Musicians who play anything that falls within concert band are welcome. Instruments include: flute, clarinet, oboe, sax, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, percussion, and string base.
Those interested in joining the band can call Lorraine Macintosh at 778-875-4998.