Running in Victoria – The Senior Concert Band’s 2019 Tour


The Senior Band on stage at the UVic Bandfest.

VICTORIA—Each year, the Senior Concert Band travels across the Pacific Northwest and occasionally the world to bring their musical talents to different places. These trips – stuffed with performances, rehearsals, workshops, clinics, and more – often end up as the highlight of the year. After all, what more could a band student want then to play their instruments for nearly three hours straight?

On the morning of February 28th, the entirety of the Senior Concert Band loaded two buses with more than 80 people and an endless number of instruments, signalling the start of a three-day long trip. Accompanied by Dr. Markel, Mr. Murray, Ms. Colville, and more, the group ventured across the Strait of Georgia to the provincial capital, Victoria.

After three and a half hours of bus, ferry, and bus again, everyone was excited to rest and settle down at our hotel. Yet soon after, the band once again loaded the buses, this time headed for St. Michael’s University School (SMUS). For two hours in the school’s band room, the band went through a workshop with Dr. Gerald King from the University of Victoria. Everyone, from the saxophones to the percussion, worked to polish their repertoire, paying close attention to Dr. King’s expertly helpful advice.

Derek Wu
The Senior Band during a rehearsal at St. Michael’s University School

As night fell, our massive group walked to dinner together. Despite a questionable number of students sprinting down the sidewalks of downtown, the group was able to enjoy dinner with friends, as well as better get to know other members of the band. Upon returning to the hotel, students settled back into their rooms for the night, with some rooms being considerably louder than others.

The next day, the band woke up bright and early for the main event of the trip, the University of Victoria’s BandFest, a yearly festival featuring bands from across the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the Pacific Northwest. Held in the massive Farquhar Auditorium, the band performed their three pieces of repertoire – each one a different style than the next – for the three adjudicators, Dr. King, Mr. John White, and the University of Manitoba’s Jacquie Dawson. Afterwards, the group had a short ­clinic with Professor Dawson, garnering much praise, but also learning more valuable tips.

Finally, the band returned to St. Michael’s for the final main event, a mass band rehearsal with students from St. Michael’s University School (SMUS) and Glenlyon Norfolk School. The massive group of nearly 150 students piled into the band room at SMUS to practice and sight-read several of each band’s repertoire pieces, before heading to the school’s café and social area for snacks and socializing.

The remainder of the trip was spent exploring Victoria’s downtown, trying the best of the city’s food scene, as well as the never-ending stream of skyline photos taken on the waterfront. At the end of it all, everyone filled the buses for the final time for the trip home to Vancouver.

Derek Wu
The view of the Victoria waterfront from the hotel.

“It was a pretty good trip,” one Grade 10 band member remarked. “We had a decent amount of free time and its always great to get the opportunity to perform at festivals,” he added. “It makes you really want to go on the Europe trip in two years,” another exclaimed.

For any Senior Band member, the trip to Victoria will no doubt be the source of many good memories. Indeed, the memories of long rehearsals, new friends, and enjoying music will linger in the minds of the whole group – that is, until the next time the band heads off for a new destination.