This article recently appeared in the Free Press and features some comment from our very own Gr.9 horn player Marissa.
Level One Band Festival Designed for Beginner Student-Musicians
WINNIPEG, MB — Grade 7 student, Chase McKay of Winnipeg has played the trombone in band
class since September. Next week, he, his band mates and more than 4,300 teenaged musicians will
be in the North Kildonan Brethren Mennonite Church, participating in the 2014 edition of the Level
One Band Festival.
"It will be a great learning experience," said McKay. "I want to learn how to play faster as well as
how to play articulations better and how to play higher notes. Band is the best thing that has
happened to me. I love playing the trombone!"
His music teacher, Darrell Chrisp of Lincoln Middle School feels this annual event is an important
one for her charges.
“It’s been a pretty big staple in my career,” said Chrisp, who has participated several times with her
students and has also adjudicated at the event. “I’ve tried other festivals, but the thing with Level
One is that my students leave it excited, they feel good about themselves, and this festival always
While at the festival, the students have the chance to hear ensembles of their peers. According to
Chrisp, this added component is also beneficial to their development.
“It’s inspiring for them,” she said.
In previous years, the festival made an impact Chrisp’s former students, including French horn
player Marissa Friesen, who is now in Grade 9. She recalls the festival fondly. It was an occasion
during which she learned that being in a band was like being a member of a team, supporting each
other and collaborating to create together.
“What stuck out (at this festival) was the change in atmosphere. I got to experience what it was
really like to perform for people that were there to judge you, then give constructive criticism,” said
Friesen. “This more formal environment let me envision what band (is) like at the elite levels, but yet
gave me a brief glimpse. It did not overwhelm me, and it was exciting to be around people who
shared the same interest as me and loved to make music.”
This festival, which has been held for the past 15 years, is unique in that it is non-competitive. It
includes a performance portion for each participating band followed by workshops.
“The adjudication team understands, on an educational level, what these kids need to take away –
like how to get a better tone quality, play the dynamics better, play the articulations on the page,
play by ear, and execute rhythms. There’s a lot involved,” said Chrisp. “This festival meets all of
The Level One Band Festival will take place at the North Kildonan Brethren Mennonite Church,
located at 1315 Gateway Road in Winnipeg. Local bands as well as ensembles from other
communities as far away as Brandon, Dauphin and Kenora will be involved. The general public is
welcome to attend the performance sessions, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 29 to
2. We wish Symphonic Band members Amy Z. and Christine L. the best of luck as they head into the Doubles Badminton Provincials this Friday and Saturday. Christine and Amy were named the MHSAA Athletes of the Week. This remarkable girls badminton doubles team is undefeated in 2014, winning the Maples, Louis Riel and WWAC Championship. Coach Penning states, "These girls have an exemplary work ethic both on and off the court. Both are honours students and are involved either fully or partially with the school's IB Programme. They have been playing badminton together for 3 years and are very dedicated. Both girls are very involved in the community as well, giving up may hours to various youth and other volunteer groups. These are two of the most well rounded young women I have ever had the pleasure of coaching and teaching." Well done ladies!
3. We wish 1011 Concert Band member Lindsay A. and Brittany K. the best of success as they travel to Edmonton this week to compete in the Under 17 Volleyball Nationals. Lindsay is a member of Fury Blue out of East Transcona. Her team finished 9th in the Province to earn their berth at the Nationals. They are one of 80 teams vying for a National championship. Lindsay, who plays middle, says, "we've had a pretty successful season and we have kept improving all year. We are a pretty strong over-all team and we're hoping for a medal in our tier at the least." Good luck Fury! Brittany plays on a different team in the u-18 category.
Good Luck ladies.
4. We wish Cam C. a safe trip as he travels to Victoria this week to compete in the Victoria Drum Fest. If you remember Cam was earlier crowned champion at the the Montreal Drumfest. Cam writes, "I'm currently competing against people who are a bit older than me and I get 5 minutes on stage to play and by the end the judges judge who wins and it's a surprise of what you win." Check out Cam's impressive three minute audition for this event.
5. We wish Alex L. all the best as he heads off to race in the Fargo Marathon on the May long weekend. For those of you that are unaware, that is 42.2K of solid running. That's like running 105.5 laps of our track. Alex has been training hard and is enjoying his taper as he gets ready for the big day.