Naden Band enthralls students at Whistler ConBrio Music Fest

The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy performs at the Con Brio Festival in Whistler, BC.

The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy performs at the Con Brio Festival in Whistler, BC.

PO2 Katrina Bligh, Naden Band ~

On the evening of April 23, the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy performed two concerts for over 3,000 music students and teachers at the Whistler Conference Center, hosted by the Con Brio Festival.

The festival, now in its 17th year, features three days of non-competitive performing, grading and masterclasses for Wind Band, Orchestra and Choir students from all over Canada and the United States.

During the festival, the Commanding Officer of the Naden Band, Lt(N) Matthew Clark, adjudicated multiple wind ensemble performances and instructed several masterclasses and workshops.

The concerts on Saturday night were the highlight for the visiting students.

Due to the venue being unable to accommodate over 3,000 attendees, the same concert was given twice two hours apart for approximately 1,500 students and teachers.

Once the opening acts The Delisle Vocal Project and trombonist Christopher Bill finished their sets, the Naden Band took the stage.  

Special guests University of Victoria Wind Ensemble conductor Dr. Gerald King; Con Brio Director Douglas Macaulay; Director of Bands at Pacific University, Oregon, and the former United States Navy senior bandmaster Dr. Michael Burch-Pesses; saxophone soloist Dr. Julia Nolan; singer Marcus Mosely; and Canadian composer Robert Buckley joined the Band.

In addition, the Band was augmented by musicians of the Royal Canadian Artillery Band from Edmonton and La Musique du Royal 22e Régiment from Quebec City.

“This concert is a wonderful opportunity to connect with students and educators in order to spread the good word of the Navy,” said Lt(N) Clark.

“I would also like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the fine musicians on stage, who give their all each and every time they put on the uniform. The students going home will treasure this memory for years to come.”

The performances were met with rapturous aplomb and standing ovations.

Despite the feeling of euphoria, this was a bittersweet moment for Lt(N) Clark, as the concert marked the last time he will conduct the full Naden Band before his posting to the Royal Canadian Air Force Band in Winnipeg later this

“It has been the greatest honour to lead and conduct this world-class ensemble during my tenure as Commanding Officer. As I move forward in my career, I look forward to hearing of the continued greatness and consummate professionalism your Naden Band is renowned for.”

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