Ready to strike up the band

Kieran Barnhardt

High schoolers a 49-year staple in Tea Party parade

Rain or shine, Oak Bay High’s marching band will help ring in the Tea Party on Saturday, although band director Colin Campbell hopes the day brings shine.

“We have marched in the rain. It’s not fun, but we’ve done it.”

In 19 years as the school’s music director, Campbell has seen all kinds of weather.

He’s also taught his bands all kinds of music. This year’s parade theme? Funky.

“Hot Hot Hot” is a funky Latin tune, he said of one of the musical selections.

The other is ’70s hit “Pick Up the Pieces” by Average White Band.

“So you’ve got some Latin music and some white music and it’s pretty funky. They sound great on the street.”

Oak Bay High’s marching band has only been practising the tunes for about three weeks, but Campbell isn’t worried about their performance on parade day.

“They all play great,” he said of the students. “The first thing is they have to do is be very secure in the memorization of a tune so they don’t have to worry about anything else except what they’re playing in their brains.

“The second thing is to make sure everyone can hear the rhythm section and the percussion, so everything gets lined up and built around the idea of left-right-left-right and you can hang whatever (tune) you want on top of that.”

About a dozen students will perform solos as the band marches the three-kilometre route from Windsor Park to Willows Beach. Between songs, the percussionists will play “a crazy drum cadence,” Campbell said.

“We’ll do a little show in front of the judges. (The musicians will) have some funky dance moves and we’ll break it down, then bring it back together.”

Marching bands from Reynolds and Lambrick Park secondary schools are also slated to perform in the parade, as well as the Canadian Scottish Regiment’s pipe and drum band and the Victoria Children’s Choir.

After the parade, Oak Bay High’s band will play on the Tea Party stage at Willows Park.

“It’s a big commitment for these kids that do it,” Campbell said. “They put in a long day and by the time it’s all over, there’s a lot of sore faces.”

ecardone@vicnews.com

Tea Party parade

• Starts at Windsor Road and Newport Avenue, 10:30 a.m. this Saturday (June 4).

• The route travels up Newport to Oak Bay Avenue, along Hampshire Road to Estevan Avenue and right on Beach Drive.

• Ends at Willows Park, 11:15 a.m.

• The parade roster includes bands, floats, marching groups, school groups and service clubs.

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