Town hoping adults and youth will get on Community Services Band wagon


Paul Smith (left) and Nick Valcourt spend some time at the Cultural Centre’s grand piano Tuesday. The musical pair are teaming up to launch the Community Services Band Program Oct. 3 – Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – The sound of music will soon be pouring out of the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. It won’t be refined music, at least not at first. But musician and music teacher Paul Smith and Town of Morinville Youth Worker Nick Valcourt believe their community services band idea has the potential of letting a group of people learn to play music together.

The 10-week program is set to begin Oct. 3 at the centre and will run Wednesday nights from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Cost of participating in the sessions is $10 per week.

“It is a chance for families and youth to come together and learn music at a very affordable rate,” Valcourt said. “They can come out with their friends and just have a good time.”

The pilot program is one Valcourt has seen in other communities. In fact, it was through such a program that he first became involved in music himself. “I thought it would be great to use our resources through Paul to try and replicate that [program] here, and at least provide the opportunity for the general community to experience something different than what they are used to,” he said. “It’s good to keep things fresh.”

Valcourt said the program needs a minimum of 10 participants and is open to youth 11 and older as well as adults of any age. Instructor Paul Smith said younger children would be considered, but they will undergo a small audition process to ensure they would be able to follow the instructions.

Smith said there is an advantage to learning music in a group setting. “This provides an opportunity to see other people learn while you are taking your initial steps, which in one-on-one you can’t do,” Smith said. “When you are playing in a group at your own ability level, it makes you kind of take your role in the band sooner.”

Over the 10 weeks participants will work their way through learning their instrument and how to play it, but participants will also learn how to play with those playing other instruments. It is hoped the band will be ready to play a concert or two by the end of the 10 weeks.

“The hopeful outcome would be to get them to be able to play a performance and get booked at one of our many festivals or events that happen around Morinville,” Smith said.

Instruments available

Those interested in taking part in the program need not rush out and buy their own instrument. Smith said a rental option is available through Smith Music. The local business has partnered with the Community Services Department to offer a rate of $25 per month for a $200 musical instrument. “For $175, you have three-months experience and lessons, which is a pretty unbeatable deal,” Smith said.

Financial assistance will be available for those who may not be able to afford the program costs. Valcourt said subsidies could be available through Morinville’s Family and Community Support Services Department, located in the cultural centre.

For more information on the Community Services Band program, contact Nick Valcourt at 780-939-7874.

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