Every February and June, the young musicians of Union United Church relish the opportunity to share their music with the community.
As members of Union Band Ensemble, they gather every Saturday in the basement of the church: five on recorders, four on guitars and another nine of them on clarinet, saxophone and flute going through their paces rehearsing an interesting mix of music.
Under the tutelage of instructors from McGill University Music department, the band is an exciting little repertoire that includes some classical pieces, some church standards and a few spirituals, and ever so often the guitarists might explore some Rock and Roll pieces.
The Ensemble is entering its 11th year after Ms. Erene Anthony founded it in 2007.
She says she has always been aware of the positive impact music can have on the lives of young people. And that was her motivation.
“I am aware from the research that a band program not only fosters musical skills, but also builds self- esteem and enhances the ability for students to work together. Learning music also facilitates the learning of other subjects and taps into multiple skills that children use integrating eyes, ears, big and small muscles.”
Many parents also see the benefits of having their children participate in the music program. Christine Busby is one of five who have more than one participants in the band.
She told the CONTACT her children Israel and Persia, along with their cousin Lannysha, enjoy the experience and the “sense of accomplishment that comes with being able to play an instrument.”
Today, the Ensemble has become a vital part of the church’s music ministry with some students performing multiple times per year as well as their command performance that takes place in February and June.
Ms. Anthony is assisted in coordinating duties by June Keene and Beverley McConney.
And a couple times a year, master music teacher Penny Lewis and saxophonist Charles Claxon drop in to offer specialized clinics to the students.
And it’s all coming together nicely for their big show on February 25 when they will share their repertoire of music with Montrealers at the annual Youth in Arts Concert taking place at Union United Church, 3007 Delisle (Atwater/Lionel Groulx metro), Montreal, from 1 p.m.
In addition to the ensemble, there will be a number of solo performances.
Another highlight of the event will be a presentation on the “Origins of Black Music” by Duke Eatmon, who is an instructor at McGill University, Concordia University and a broadcaster at CBC Radio.
YOUTH IN ARTS CONCERT celebrates multiple anniversaries: Union’s 110th, Montreal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th. Featuring performances by Union’s Band Ensemble, soloists, and group presentation. The event takes place at Union United Church 3007 Delisle Montreal, (metro Lionel Groulx). Tel: (514) 932- 8731/ (514) 233 -3589.