It’s a musical jungle out there for the Campbell River Community Band

Band director Céline Ouellette combed through the filing cabinets of band music looking for a theme

Every January Campbell River Community Band director Céline Ouellette combs through the filing cabinets of band music looking for a theme for the annual spring concert.

A great many animal and bird titles popped up, so the April 26 concert will be titled ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’.

The event, scheduled for 7:30 at the Carihi multi-purpose room, will also have have a big surprise, a guest band members are very excited about.

Former Campbell River Community Band conductor Chris Unger, who is just finishing his doctoral studies at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, will be conducting the second half of the concert. Unger, who led the band for a year, has received a Frederick Fennell Fellowship for advanced conducting and has served as the assistant conductor of both the Eastman Wind Orchestra and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

The animal world is vast, and the Friday evening concert is similarly wideranging.

The concert will open with a medley of the ever popular music from ‘Cats’, followed by two numbers from Stuart Johnson’s ‘Circus Suite’ – Bareback Riders and Elephant Act.

The band is fortunate to have a number of fine soloists in its ranks. Trumpeter Roger Kirk will be featured in an arrangement of ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ while Gordon James will be the alto saxophone soloist in Jay Chattaway’s ‘Songbird’.

Bands and audiences love marches. This time there are two: Fillmore’s ‘Circus Bee’, and the Alford classic ‘Standard of St. George’. The animal in question is the dragon!

The audience, and especially any children present, will love ‘The Three Little Pigs’ which keeps the band on its toes with Doug Craig’s ever changing narration.

Children and the young at heart will also like Henry Mancini’s ‘Baby Elephant Walk’.

Director Ouellette always likes to choose a couple of numbers that push the band to its limits. ‘’Flight of the Griffin’, is a high energy piece with a haunting middle Press Release

The work, by Brian Balmages, describes a mythical creature with the head, legs, and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.

‘Where Never Lark or Eagle Flew’ is a classic band piece by American composer James Curnow.

Other birds and animals making an appearance include the blue goose, the horse (as in Leroy Anderson’s ‘Horse and Buggy’) and the birds of ‘Birdland’.

The Campbell River Community Band has been together for 17 years, mostly under the baton of founding director Céline Ouellette.

The band rehearses together once a week from September to May.

Tickets to It’s a Jungle Out There are available from band members or at the door. The cost is $5, or $12 for a family.

The concert is dedicated to the late Dennis Flint, a trombone player with the band and a valued member of the musical community of Campbell River and the Comox Valley.