Naden Band, students overcome the pandemic blues

Naden Band

S1 Simeon Weststeijn of the Naden Band speaks with students during a virtual concert for students while Image Technician S1 Sisi Xu manages MARPAC Base Imaging’s YouTube livestream. Photo by Steve MacDonald, Naden Band.

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer

Classrooms across British Columbia came alive with the sound of the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy’s music last month.

Students of all ages watched a series of livestream concerts throughout the month of March. Concerts were produced and streamed live by MARPAC Imaging on YouTube.

Four separate performances by the band were delivered each week, two for Elementary School students and their teachers, and two for Middle School and High School.

The band traditionally performs live in-person, but due to COVID-19 health and safety restrictions in early 2022, the decision was made to deliver the programs via live-stream.

The idea came about after discussions between Lt(N) Ben Van Slyke, Naden Band Music Officer, and, Lt(N) Catherine Norris, Naden Band Commanding Officer, following a presentation by the directors of music of the six United States armed forces special bands at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.  The presentation included discussions on the virtual outreach they had accomplished during the pandemic.

“In the end, this was a very effective method for the Naden Band to reach out to schools across the entire province,” says Lt(N) Van Slyke. “MARPAC Imaging was integral to the success of this project as their professionalism, flexibility, and the quality of the video were top notch.”

Each week saw different instrumental group or style of music delivered. On March 2 and 3, it was brass instruments and percussion performances; March 9 and 10 woodwind instruments and percussion; and March 16 and 17 the focus shifted to the sounds of jazz. Percussion was included every week due to the wide variety of percussion instruments played by band members.

On their playlist were many contemporary songs and arrangements including Jupiter from Gustav Holsts’ The Planets, On the Sunny Side of the Street, Oh When the Saints Go Marching In, and the theme from The Simpsons among others.

Lt(N) Van Slyke estimates all of the concerts combined reached approximately 2,000 students. During the live-streams, band members shared with the student insights into the instruments played and the demands of performing.

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