A long-standing Okotoks ensemble is getting the band back together.
The Foothills Music Society (FMS), founded almost 30 years ago, consists of a jazz band and concert band open to adult musicians 18 and up.
After a partial season at the start of 2022, and two years of pandemic restrictions, the not-for-profit society of musicians is ready to assemble again.
“The vast majority of our people are back,” said Kathie Van Lare, director of the FMS Concert Band. “It’s just very apparent how people really missed playing together and being together.
“We miss our people – we're strong musically and we’re strong socially, so it’s nice thinking that things are on the up and up again.”
The opportunity for adults to play music in a non-professional capacity is a treasure, she added.
“Our part of the world is known for the amount of adult community bands,” Van Lare said.
“Every time an adjudicator comes up from the (United) States, they marvel at how many people are playing music as adult amateurs.”
Most people who take band in high school often never get to use those talents again.
“It fills a hole in people's lives," she added. "You spend a lot of time getting good at playing an instrument, then you put it down to go have a career, have a family.
“Being able to pick it back up again after you have those things in place in your life, it’s pretty cool.”
As they move forward, the bands are hoping to restore their numbers, and are holding open house nights at Holy Trinity Academy, with the Concert Band’s on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m., and the Jazz Band's on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.
The jazz band takes saxophones, trumpets, trombone, rhythm, and is specifically in need of a pianist.
The concert band is for all instruments.
Time commitments for each, Van Lare added, are simply a couple hours per week.
A regular year’s programming typically includes concerts in spring and at Christmas, playing for area Remembrance Day ceremonies, and the Alberta International Band Festival (where they recently took home the Adjudicators Trophy).
“Even at that, we never have everybody every week, because people get busy,” she said, but the camaraderie is a delight.
“I’ve known these people for a long time and we just enjoy getting together and playing music together.”
For more information, those interested can attend the open house nights or visit FoothillsMusicSociety.com.