November means music in Canmore as hundreds of students from all over Alberta and British Columbia gather here annually to play, learn and perform at the Vic Lewis Band Festival.
This year the festival runs Nov. 1-3 and is expected to attract nearly 900 students. During the two days and two nights of this event, junior high and high school bands will perform for adjudicators, take part in workshops, enjoy faculty recitals and give public performances of their musical talents.
It's a gathering that not only attracts music-loving visitors to Canmore, but is also a source of civic pride for the entire area. So if you’re planning on attending the Vic Lewis Band Festival next month, here’s a little bit of background on the event.
Festival honours musical pioneer
This is the 16th year for the Vic Lewis Band Festival, which was named to honour the Canmore pioneer who brought band music to Bow Valley students in the 1940s. Vic Lewis earned a place in local history and in the hearts of music lovers of the Bow Valley for his contributions to the area's vibrant music community, introducing generations of youngsters to concert band, wind ensemble and jazz band music.
Decades after Lewis first started teaching, his legacy continues with the annual festival that brings together students, local musicians and business sponsors. Lewis passed away in 1999.
Event attracts expert music educators
Each year, a variety of talented and knowledgeable music educators attend the festival to share their years of expertise with the students. Among the past guest directors have been such notable musicians as Dr. Robert Taylor, Director of Wind Bands at the University of British Columbia; Wayne Jeffrey, Director of Ensembles at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia and Scott Brown, jazz trombonist at Seattle Schools in Seattle Washington.
With such talent on hand, it's no surprise that students come away from this festival with a deeper understanding of music and more enthusiasm for playing and performing.
Festival has a strong reputation
This event has earned a name as one of the top non-competitive music festivals in Alberta. Its focus is on letting students hone their skills with some of the top musical educators and band directors in Western Canada, and showing off those skills in public performances.
Most festival events take place at Canmore Collegiate High and the Canmore Recreation Centre. The evening gala public performances take place at Canmore's 280-seat Cornerstone Theatre.
If you're coming to town for the Vic Lewis Band Festival, you'll be only minutes away from all student and performance venues at the comfortable and affordable Econolodge Canmore, with its spacious rooms, free continental breakfast and fitness centre.