Archive for May, 2010


Band geeks are cool!

May 4, 2010

I was happy to hear last week that the VSB backed off, at least temporarily, from the lunacy of axing our city’s elementary school band and strings program. The threatened cancellation of the program made me think about how my passion for music began. I trace it back to Grade 5, when I started playing trombone in the school band (after an unsuccessful attempt at trumpet). Three years of blowing air through the bone was enough to convince me that being a band geek was a good thing. That led to a high school life that was all about music: stage band, concert band, my own jazz group, vocal jazz ensemble, concert choir, and musicals. Post-high school, many good musical things came my way: playing in the UBC jazz band, becoming a music journalist, and now playing with my pals in OEQ. It all started with school band. (I don’t consider piano lessons with stern “Sister Mona” in an East Van convent, back in kindergarten, as my start in music. Not an inspiring experience.)

I thought about this some more while recently attending talent shows at two high schools. One of the shows was a benefit concert for that school’s music program, entirely organized and performed by students. While the quality of performances varied at both shows – from impressive to barely listenable – I was struck by the confidence and fearlessness of the kids in getting up on stage and doing their thing. More evidence that school arts programs are worthwhile.

Miles played in three very different groups in the two shows. Check out the vids:

Casual Blizzard doing an original song: “What Kind of Friend”:

The B2B dectet doing “Rock Around the Clock”

Nigel & Miles doing Chick Corea’s “Spain”: