The Nanaimo Concert Band, seen here rehearsing at St. Andrew’s United Church, is presenting its fall concert on Nov. 7 at the Port Theatre. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

The Nanaimo Concert Band, seen here rehearsing at St. Andrew’s United Church, is presenting its fall concert on Nov. 7 at the Port Theatre. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Concert Band returns to the Port Theatre for first show in two years

Band has been unable to perform during the COVID-19 pandemic

Nanaimo Concert Band members were in the midst of rehearsals for their 2020 spring concert when everything was halted due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, a year and a half later, those musicians are rehearsing together once more.

On Nov. 7, the Nanaimo Concert Band presents its 2021 fall concert. It’s the group’s first performance since its Christmas charity concert at Beban Park in December 2019.

“Everybody misses each other and they miss making music with each other,” NCB conductor Dave Fullerton said. “So, first and foremost, getting back into rehearsal has been a hugely wonderful thing for the band.”

Clarinet player Shari Barker said she’s been attending the band’s Monday night practices for 40 years, hardly missing a night. She joked that without the regular rehearsals she’s been losing track of the days of the week.

“I was lost when we couldn’t go,” she said in an e-mail. “A huge hole was there. My passion is playing the clarinet and the musicians in the band are like family as we have seen each other every Monday for years.”

Fullerton said the concert will feature “the kind of favourites that the audience has come to expect,” like dance tunes from the ’30s and ’40s, but the band will also perform a music from the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess, the music of Les Misérables, Nimrod from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, which Fullerton noted was played at the funeral for Prince Philip, and in a nod to Remembrance Day, the Royal Canadian Air Force March Past.

Fullerton said the band is prepared to participate in this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony if it is called upon to do so.

“We are ready to serve as a band. We’re also ready to serve with our brass quintet as we did last year,” he said. “So for the [103rd] time, the Nanaimo Concert Band will serve.”

WHAT’S ON … Nanaimo Concert Band’s fall concert takes place at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on Nov. 7 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets $16, available from the Port Theatre. Tickets for the band’s cancelled spring 2020 concert will also be accepted.

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