P.A. Concert Band set for intimate Sunday show

Prince Albert City Concert Band co-director Nicole Webb leads members during a rehearsal at Calvary United Church. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The Prince Albert Concert Band is getting set to perform its third show of the season on Sunday, when it hosts the Small Ensembles show at the John M. Cuelenaere Library at 7 p.m.

The band will be using its large number of musicians this year to its advantage at the show, by breaking the performance into a series of smaller ensembles sets.

“What that means is the brass section, for example, would perform a few selections, and then a flute trio might play a few selections, and then there would be a percussion ensemble,” explained the band’s co-director, Erika Rybinski.

“We kind of break into our instrument families and perform chamber pieces.”

The band’s high registration numbers for this concert season are what allow Rybinski and co-director Nicole Webb to offer such a format at Sunday’s show.

It also means that the band is seeing some unique instrumentation set-ups.

“We have a double bass player this year. So (at Sunday’s show) we have a double bass and a tuba duet for example. It would typically be a double bass or a tuba duet, but because we only have one of each, they’ve joined together to form a duet,” Rybinski explained.

An added benefit of the small ensemble set-up is that it allows the musicians of each ensemble to select the music they want to play.

“It’s quite diverse. We have some music dating back to the Renaissance era and the Baroque era as well … and we have some more modern pieces,” Rybinski said. “Like the clarinet ensemble is performing All That Jazz and Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Every group picked their own music.”

The cost to attend the show is by donation. Prince Albert Concert Band is a non-profit organization; all proceeds earned by donations from the show go towards the costs of keeping the band running.

For those who attend the Sunday evening performance, Rybinski said concert-goers can expect to hear full, rich sound from each of the ensembles.

“What’s different this year is we have more numbers in our (group), which means that our instrumentation is fuller. That means we have musicians covering more parts (for each piece of music),” she explained.

“For example, we have three flute players, which means we can have one of them playing the oboe parts.”

More musicians covering more instrumentation parts means ensembles can perform a more challenging repertoire of music, plus a fuller, richer overall sound experience.

“When there’s more voices across all the instruments, every instrument family or instrument has a certain colour to their sounds.

“So then the colours come out more clearly and more fully because you have more diversity,” she said.