With a flick of conductor Joe Hatherill’s wrist, the concert band trumpets in unison.
The dozen or so seated musicians blow and drum their respective instruments in time with Hatherill’s hands, which artfully draw invisible lines in the air. The decibel level at the normally quiet Monterey Centre has just gone up.
“(This) gives a venue for seniors – or people getting close to being a senior – it gives them a chance to go where they can play and it’s fun,” says trumpet player Ervin Braithwaite. “It’s a way to a little bit of camaraderie with the group, make some music, have some laughs, it is a good thing.”
Less than a year old, the approximately 13 to 15 member concert band plays Broadway favourites including Beauty and the Beast, Don’t Cry for me Argentina, Phantom of the Opera, and I Dream a Dream among other well-known favourites once a week and hopes to double its size before eventually playing small local concerts.
“They can be beginner or intermediate level, it gives them an opportunity to play without being a professional musician. … We are hoping to attract people who would feel comfortable in the setting we have.”
Braithwaite has played his trumpet on and off for approximately 20 years, starting as an adult student in his 40s. He always wanted to play in a band, so he took some lessons and is still working on his skills today.
“We are not bad, some of us are better than others but that’s OK,” the 67-year-old says with a chuckle. “If someone can’t quite keep up we ask them to stay within the book and you can just sit there and listen and try to keep up with the music and go from there.”
Hatherill, a saxophone player and music teacher who made his way to Oak Bay by way of England, said finding the group at the right time was the perfect fit.
“We found the space. We found the happy people. We are making a lot of noise and we want more members,” he says with a smile. “They like me and I like them and it is going very well.”
The 30-year musician says the non-audition, community-based band is about uniting music lovers in a no-pressure environment to have fun.
“It brings people together and complements the activities that happen at this marvelous facility,” he adds. “It’s (about) making beautiful noise and getting people together.”
The group welcomes anyone over 55 years of age to their
4:30 p.m. practises, every Thursday at the Monterey Recreation Centre, 1442 Monterey Ave. For more information contact Ervin Braithwaite at 250-595-2794.