Carlton to host ExtravaBANDza for school bands

Carlton Comprehensive Collegiate is the current location of the Saskatchewan Rivers DLC. /Daily Herald File Photo

The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division hopes to open a spot for bands and instrumentalists who couldn’t compete at the recent Prince Albert Music Festival.

COVID-19 limited the size and scope of this year’s festival, leaving concert bands and other musical groups without spot to perform. On Monday, the Sask. Rivers board of education received information about an in-division festival called ExtravaBANDza being planned by the division’s band teachers.

“When the Prince Albert Music Festival decided they couldn’t operate (at all levels) this year because of COVID and all of those kinds of things, we said, ‘hey, we want to provide some venue for bands particularly, but also some instrumentalists too,’” Saskatchewan Rivers education director Robert Bratvold said. “There is a committee and music teachers who make stuff happen, and they are making it happen.”

Bratvold said it’s a much-needed opportunity to fill the gap for many bands who have had few chances to perform since the start of the pandemic.

“It is just not a manageable thing for bands and we want to say that we have got great kids playing in bands across the division and teachers doing amazing work,” Bratvold said.

Hundreds of band students will converge at Carlton Comprehensive High School as they express their talent and passion for music on May 16 to 19.

The festival will be adjudicated so it completes the music festival experience.

In a press release, the division stated that the Board values music and the fine arts instruction. School trustees were very excited and impressed that local band teachers organized an SRPSD band festival.

Music teachers across the division are making special efforts to prepare festival pieces for the festival. Shelly Acorn, Kayla Ginter, Lauren Lohneis, Scott Roos, Kayleigh Skomorowski, and Amy Timm have led the work to organize ExtravaBANDza. Maintenance, caretaking, academic and administrative staff at Carlton have supported the endeavor as hosts of the event.