Collaboration with Festival City Winds Music Society aims to recruit instrumentalists to King’s
As of Fall Semester 2021, students who come to King’s as instrumentalists have the option to earn large ensemble credits by playing with one of four levels of bands offered by Edmonton’s Festival City Winds.
Dr. Eila Peterson, who teaches in King’s music department, is quite happy that King’s is now offering this opportunity to students.
“Smaller universities don’t have big enough music departments to run a band program and yet a lot of students who come to university to do music come through school band programs and they’d like to keep on playing,” Peterson says. “A music degree needs to include large ensemble credit. King’s does have three choral groups, of course, so students can always receive large ensemble credit by singing in choir, but now band is available as well.”
King’s students have always been able to audition for the University of Alberta’s band ensembles for credit, but placement is not guaranteed, and rehearsal times can sometimes fit awkwardly into King’s course schedules. Because FCW has different levels of bands (novice, intermediate 1 and 2, and advanced) there is always an appropriate placement for students. The bands also include adults of all ages and professions who continue to play music for the love of it.
“I think that’s one of the biggest advantages of this program for King’s students,” Peterson says. “When students play with Festival City Winds they're playing alongside doctors, lawyers, short-order cooks, truck drivers, retired science professors, and people who do music their whole life.”
Another advantage for King’s students is that FCW musicians are accustomed to working with apprentice conductors, so students benefit from conducting workshop opportunities under the professional guidance of FCW conductors. King’s agreement with FCW is similar to one FCW has with Concordia, but as only King’s offers a secondary music education program, its agreement with FCW is more involved.
“At King’s we have students who are training to be band teachers in schools, so they can get some conducting time and even learn to improve their skills on secondary instruments by playing in novice band,” Peterson says.
Non-music majors who wish to earn arts credit by playing in band for a year are also eligible to join FCW. Peterson expects that this year will be the first in an ongoing project. “We’re hoping this relationship will be good for recruiting students who want to come to King’s as instrumentalists.”