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Symphonic Band ready for historic Toronto trip

Skyline of Toronto
Posted On: Friday, January 10, 2020

Skyline of Toronto

The Ottawa Hills Symphonic Band is only days away from a historic trip. The band will perform three times over four days at some of Toronto’s most notable landmarks in the group’s first-ever overnight travel experience.

Fifty-six members of the band (representing students in grades 9-12) are making the Jan. 17-20 trip to Canada. They have been practicing a six-song set for months. Their performances are:

  • Jan. 18 (morning) at the University of Toronto in the presence of Dr. Gillian MacKay, a Professor of Music at the university’s music school and conductor of the university’s Wind Ensemble. The performance is billed as a “Collegiate Instrumental Clinic” as she will provide feedback to improve their play.
  • Jan. 18 (afternoon) at Casa Loma, a historic house museum and city landmark. That performance is open to museum visitors (there is a fee to enter the museum) and occurs in the Great Hall on the main floor.
  • Jan. 19 at the Ontario Science Center.

While the trip schedule offers many highlights, performing before Dr. MacKay tops them, Mr. Leeds said.

“I'm most excited about receiving her feedback and working with a world-class institution,” he said. “Being able to work with the director of bands is a big deal. The feedback the students receive will help us get to the next level. Hopefully, we can take the feedback we get that morning and apply it at our 2 o’clock performance.”

The band’s playset includes:

  • “Bonds of Unity” by Karl King
  • “Anthem for Winds and Percussion” by Claude T. Smith
  • “Largo” from New World Symphony by Antonin Dvorak, arr. Johnny Vinson
  • “Nathan Hale Trilogy” by James Curnow
  • “Nessun Dorma” by Giacomo Puccini, arr. Johnny Vinson
  • “Festivo” by Vaclav Nelhybel

The group departs before dawn Friday, Jan. 17, on two chartered motor coaches. Among the sights and sounds they will experience together are:

  • Attending a performance by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra of Mozart’s “Symphony No. 39” and “Requiem” at Roy Thomson Hall.
  • Attending a performance of “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Princess of Wales Theater.
  • Sight-seeing visits to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the Historic St. Lawrence Market, Royal Ontario Museum, Eaton Centre, and CN Tower.

Accompanying Mr. Leeds are chaperones Rebecca McLean, Laura Randall, Michelle Underwood, and Stephanie Risk.

The group returns Monday, Jan. 20, and on the way home will visit Niagara Falls, including a “Journey Behind the Falls” via rock tunnels behind Horseshoe Falls.

The trip was announced in March, and immediately Mrs. Randall and the Ottawa Hills Music & Theatre Association (OHMTA) began planning trip details and fundraising. While families are covering two-thirds of the expense, the band program needed to find donors to cover the remaining third. In addition to OHMTA, the trip received financial support from the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation and the Ottawa Hills Schools Parent Association. 

Follow the band's adventure across the border on Twitter @greenbearband





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