Vernon City Band members pose with their instruments at the Polson Park grandstand

Vernon City Band members pose with their instruments at the Polson Park grandstand

Community bands have a long history in Vernon

Musicians can dust off their instruments to play in the Vernon Community Band.

Community bands have existed throughout history in cities large and small.

Over the years, Vernon has supported many bands such as the Fire Brigade Band, Okanagan Mounted Rifles, Navy Cadet Band, B.C. Horse Band, Vernon Girls Trumpet Band, Kalamalka Highlanders, just to mention a few.

In the 1920s, a group of musicians gathered to form the first Vernon City Band.

Music is a part of our lives and the beat of our hearts. It moves us to smiles and tears, stirs us to bravery. With musical knowledge, anyone who cannot converse a spoken language can knock down the communication barriers and join together in creating music.

In other communities, visiting bands from France, Germany or Japan sit next to one another and play the same music. A group of drummers can pick up a beat and synchronize until the reverberations are felt deep in the soul.

The bond is instant.

A parade would sadly be lacking if it did not have a marching band stirring up the crowds and swinging to the sounds of Louie, Louie, or setting a good march beat for the military to step in line to.

Rube bands also delight the crowds with their zany music and clown costumes.

There is a need for adults to participate in music, both as performers and as listeners. This need revolves around social gatherings and stimulating the mind. Many adult musicians remember the satisfaction of performing in high school or college bands. Some adults took up a musical instrument for personal enjoyment and as a retirement hobby then started to look around for a group of like-minded people.

The present Vernon Community Band began as many community bands do, with a group of adults in 1985 who missed playing in a band.  The group set itself up with the name of Second Wind since most were learning to play an instrument for the second time.

Several conductors have guided this group of housewives, nurses, accountants, plumbers, physicians, custodians, and teachers over the years. We now have many parents playing alongside their children and encourage students to come out and join us.

The Vernon Community Band enjoys supporting the community and looks forward to perform.

Performance opportunities in the past have included  Remembrance Day, Winter Carnival, Vernon Jubilee Hospital auxiliary fundraisers, B.C. Winter Games, Bike To Work Week, as well as combined performances with the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band, and Mark Rose Swing Band.

In the past years, the band has performed during the Christmas holidays and at other times for residents of Vernon Restholm, Canterbury Court, Carrington Place, Noric House, Gateby, and Orchard Valley.

There are many levels of abilities and no auditions are required. Some members play several instruments and are involved with local jazz and swing bands.

We encourage anyone who has played in a band and who can read music to come out to our rehearsals. Although our group is not a beginner band, it is amazing how the musical mind with practise gains in ability.

So hang onto your youth, have fun, stimulate your mind, and come out and play music.

The Vernon Community Band is presently rehearsing at the new Vernon Secondary School every Monday night at 7 p.m. For more information, contact the conductor, Toni Rose, at 250-549-2414 or treasurer Corrie Bauml at 250-306-3592

Sharon Gurney is a flute player with the Vernon Community Band.