Kindersley area students and conductors for the 2018 Saskatchewan Honour Groups get together for a group photo at Lakeview Church in Saskatoon. The Honour Band and Honour Choir members were in Saskatoon from Nov. 15 to 17. (Back row l-r) Andrew Glass, Kristel Peters, Honour Choir conductor, and Wendy McCallum, Honour Band conductor. (Third row l-r) Samantha Mathewson, Rachel Krogstad and Charity Klassen. (Second row l-r) Tia Townsend and Chelsea Martin. (Front row l-r) Kailey Herner and Sidney Martin.

Kenneth Brown
of The Clarion

A total of eight high school students from the Kindersley area have shown their musical talent as part of the 2018 Saskatchewan Honour Groups program.

The honour groups consist of the Saskatchewan Honour Band and the Saskatchewan Honour Choir. The students had to audition for the annual program and they spent three days in Saskatoon from Nov. 15 to 17 learning, rehearsing and, eventually, performing at Lakeview Church.

Seven of the eight students were in the Honour Band, and the group included six students from Kindersley Composite School (KCS) and one from Westcliffe Composite School. Andrew Glass, who attends KCS, was the lone student in the Honour Choir.

The seven Honour Band students were Kailey Herner of Kindersley (alto saxophone), Rachel Krogstad of Alsask (flute), Chelsea Martin of Flaxcombe (clarinet), Sidney Martin of Flaxcombe (trumpet), Charity Klassen of Kindersley (French horn), Samantha Mathewson of Kindersley (clarinet) and Tia Townsend of Kindersley (tenor saxophone).

[emember_protected for=”2″ custom_msg=’For more on this story, please see this week’s print edition of The Clarion.’]

Krogstad was the student from Westcliffe. The Kindersley area was well represented in the Honour Band with seven of the 57 total members. There were 18 members from Saskatoon and eight from Regina, so the local students could be proud of the strong showing.

The students spent time learning and rehearsing their music for the first two days in Saskatoon, and then they performed for an audience on the final day. The band was led by conductor Wendy McCallum and the choir was led by conductor Kristel Peters. The choir performed six songs and the band performed four songs.

Students had to send in their audition tapes in April and most of the band students recorded at the home of music teacher Steve Mealey. Four of the students including Glass had been a part of the Honour Groups program in the past.

Sidney, who has now been in the honour band three times, said it was only her and one other student from KCS in her first year of the program, but more local students went in 2017 and the local contingent in 2018 was even larger. Chelsea and Herner joined Sidney in 2017.

Sidney said although she was surrounded by familiar faces from the area, she has made friends from her previous two years in the program. She said she was able to renew acquaintances, but it is easy to make new friends.

“You automatically have people that you can talk to when you’re there and feel comfortable,” she said, recognizing that all of the students have their love for music in common and she has even made friends in the Honour Choir that she continues to keep in touch with from past years.

Several of the local students agreed that it was easy to meet the other students and talk to them about music and other topics. The band students practice in their sections as part of what is called sectional sessions, but all sections also rehearse together.

The band students say there is a lot of friendly competition among the different sections, and the sections often have to make compromises for various reasons including getting drowned out by other sections. Brass often competes with woodwinds.

Sidney said the program alternates between Regina and Saskatoon each year, but the routine is generally the same. Each year there is different members, different musical selections and different conductors, so it is not the same.

“You’re also there with a whole bunch of different people and a completely different conductor every year, so you’re getting different pieces and you’re learning different things,” she said, noting that the conductor focused on tone in her first year and this year’s focus was more about timing and tuning.

Herner said she enjoyed the musical selections this year, but she believes last year’s selections were a bit stronger from a difficulty point of view. Sidney added that there was more variation among the selections from a year ago.

Each of the students was asked about their experiences. Townsend said she really enjoyed the sectional sessions because she got to learn about her instrument and how to manipulate the saxophone to make different pitches.

Mathewson said she enjoyed the whole experience, but the band got to meet the composer of one of the songs and it was a highlight for her. The band played a song “Matters of Kindness” and the piece’s composer, Kenley Kristofferson, was there in person. She noted that the band conductor was also quite good.

Klassen said she is the only French horn player in the KCS band, so she really enjoyed getting to play alongside six other French horn players. Klassen said she also enjoyed getting to know more about her instrument and how it works.

According to Sidney, her favourite part of the weekend was playing in the final concert because it is her final year as part of the program and it was bittersweet to know she would not get to return for another year. Herner said she enjoyed rehearsing with serious musicians.


honour groups