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Honour band of top Regina elementary students aims to grow love of music

Honour band of top Regina elementary students aims to grow love of music
WATCH: Over the course of three days, Regina students take part in an intensive rehearsal process before playing a showcase of five pieces on the final day.

It was a day of music – instead of a day off – for the top 85 elementary school band students in Regina.

For 18 years, the annual junior select band has brought together the best and brightest young musicians in Regina Public Schools.

“I was honestly so excited because I found out about junior select last year, and when I heard about it I wanted to be a part of it,” said Grade 8 student Eva Markatos at rehearsal Friday.

Eva Markatos, right, says she took to the oboe for its unique sound and that fewer students choose to play the woodwind instrument.
Eva Markatos, right, says she took to the oboe for its unique sound and that fewer students choose to play the woodwind instrument. Daniella Ponticelli / Global News

Over the course of three days, students take part in an intensive rehearsal process before playing a showcase of five pieces on the final day.

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“I like the rehearsals just because of the environment and because I get to work with so many great musicians. It’s just so much fun and I just love the experience,” said Markatos, who is entering her third year playing the oboe.

The 85-member band spends most of its three days together in intensive rehearsal.
The 85-member band spends most of its three days together in intensive rehearsal. Daniella Ponticelli / Global News

This year marked a special hometown return for guest conductor Jennifer Treble, who now teaches in Victoria, B.C., but began as a music instructor at Regina’s Campbell Collegiate when the junior select band first formed.

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“We thought, ‘let’s get some kids together who would really benefit from this experience, that would really appreciate it.’ So when they asked me to come do this, it was like, ‘wow, this is so cool this is still happening,’” said Treble, adding the aim has always been to foster a love of music.

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“The goal is that they’ll continue to want to do music and maybe take that energy back to their own band program at their school.”

The Grade 7 & 8 band students are chosen from across Regina Public Schools for the three-day band intensive.
The Grade 7 & 8 band students are chosen from across Regina Public Schools for the three-day band intensive. Daniella Ponticelli / Global News

Treble said this year’s group has been intensely focused and excited throughout the process, which started Thursday night.

“First of all, they’re giving up a professional development day where they might be otherwise hanging out with their buddies and stuff,” she said.

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“So that really says something about the character of the kids and the teaching that’s going on – that they want to be here.”

The Regina junior select band will host its 2020 performance at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Campbell Collegiate.