CORNER BROOK As a member of the Presentation Junior High Band, Daniel Whitten admits he had realistic expectations heading into the recent MusicFest Canada national festival.
But despite being the only band from Atlantic Canada in the competition and competing against hundreds of the best 12-25 year old musical ensembles in the country, the group came away with a Silver Standard in the concert band portion of the event, which was held from May 16-20 in Vancouver.
According to Whitten, the group was happy to prove themselves against talented musicians often several years older than themselves.
“We were the underdogs,” Whitten said Friday. “You feel like you’re not as good as them, in a way. But we have a lot of confidence in ourselves and the band and we performed very well.”
The group earned the right to represent the province and the region with a solid showing at a qualifying competition last year in Halifax. Whitten said it was a special sense of satisfaction knowing the 60-piece ensemble did the province proud at the festival.
Whitten played alto saxophone and tympany during the group’s three-song performance in Vancouver, which was spearheaded by band leader Floyd Thomas. He said the group’s versatility and strong song selection, which included Legacy March, Ancient Moon and the Nights of Destiny, was the key to pleasing the ears of adjudicators in the event.
“I think they really liked the contrast of the songs and the overall way we performed them,” he said. “Legacy March was really upbeat and then Ancient Moon was slowed down a bit. Nights of Destiny was a bit of both.”
The performance marks the culmination of the Grade 9 student’s junior high school band career. However, Whitten said he’s already signed up for band for next year and is looking forward to the challenge of being a fresh rookie in a band full of experienced players.
“From the top to the bottom,” he said with a laugh.