The Kamloops big band, Beyond Brass, performed to a small crowd of “hearty individuals” at the Music at the Lakes concert on Saturday, July 7.
Brad Schapansky, the band’s president, said a crowd of 50 or 60 people welcomed them on the Interlake’s Rona’s stage at 6 p.m. But after 7 p.m. most left because of the rain.
“We had a lot of fun. We’ve played in worse conditions than that, too,” he laughed. “At least wind wasn’t blowing.”
Schapansky said the band played until nearly 7:30, despite the rain, for the “hearty individuals” who remained.
“Those are the ones that really wanted to be there. That they’re willing to stick it out really makes it worth while,” he said.
Musicians stayed fairly dry under the stage’s cover, he said, but added that the shelter also turned into a haven for mosquitoes.
The swing band has been together for around 40 years and includes musicians of all ages.
Schapansky said they like to mentor on younger musicians – even those in high school – as a way to keep the genre moving forward.
“We really feel the need to keep doing that,” keep recruiting younger musicians to keep the music alive.
Introducing young people to big band music is as important to the group as playing together is, he said.
Many high school musicians who have sat in with Beyond Brass have either ended up joining the band, moving on to university music programs, or becoming music teachers or full-time musicians.
“In the school system, music programs don’t have as high a value anymore as they used to,” said Schapansky.
“For these kids that have talent and real promise, they need somewhere else to bring their level of play up.”
He said all of the band’s members were happy to perform at Music at the Lakes.
“Everybody had a big smile on their face … it’s all about music in the end and everybody loves playing and sharing.”
Schapansky said the band was scheduled to play at Music at the Lakes last summer, but, of course, the wildfires made that impossible.
Now that Interlakes’ locals have finally heard Beyond Brass, he said they responded with gratitude.
“The biggest thing we got was, ‘Thank you for bringing this music up here.'”
Music at the Lakes continues every Saturday at the Interlakes Service Centre until Aug. 25. The concerts cost nothing and all ages are welcomed. Musical performances run from 6 to 7:30 p.m.