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Get your mistle-toes tapping

Christmas offers Edmonton Schoolboys' Alumni Band an opportunity to toot their horn


Under the Baton

Edmonton Schoolboys’ Alumni Band

Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2:30 p.m.

St. Albert United Church

20 Green Grove Dr.

Tickets: $15 at door

The Edmonton Schoolboys’ Alumni Band invites St. Albert to explore the lead-up to Christmas with an eclectic musical program at St. Albert United Church on Sunday, Dec. 1.

The 40-odd super-agers, under the baton of Graeme Peppink, play a blend of seasonal favourites and traditional concert pieces.

Peppink, a former teacher at École Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d’Youville and a current member of St. Albert Community Band, recently stepped up to the podium accepting the role Roy Townend held for two years.

“Graeme is a dedicated musician and he’s a good conductor,” said band clarinetist Gerry Buccini.

Unlike most other regional bands, the Schoolboys are an easygoing group of friends who gather together and make music. For past conductors, the emphasis was less on teaching and more on guiding them to sound better.

Starting the concert are concert pieces such as Summon the Heroes by composer John Williams of Star Wars fame. With these simple three words, Williams captures the fanfare and spirit of the Olympics.

“It’s such an impressive work, it’s become the official anthem of the Olympics,” Buccini noted.

Equally challenging is Frank Ticheli’s An American Elegy. The work is a prayer for peace composed to honour those who died and those who lived through the Columbine High School massacre.

The band’s creative flow extends to Galop, a movement from Dimitri Shostokovich’s ballet, The Limpid Stream, as well as the yearning of Somewhere Over the Rainbow from Wizard of Oz.

Moving on to the holiday section, the bells peel loud and deep in I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day even as the musicians resurrect the brisk pop sounds of I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.

“When it came out in 1953, it hit No. 24 on the Billboard pop charts.”

The heartwarming afternoon of holiday cheer gets a boost from three very diverse pieces: a Rudolph Christmas Medley, John Rutter’s Candlelight Carol and Franz Gruber’s quintessential Silent Night.

Closing the holiday portion is Quebec composer Andre Jutras C’est Noel.

“It starts with the brilliance of trumpets and then becomes soft before ending with a fanfare.”

Get your mistle-toes tapping and join the Schoolboys for an afternoon brimming with holiday music.

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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