Big sound slated for Ladysmith Show

Outdoor concert series continues at Transfer Beach

The Summer Concerts at Transfer Beach will march on July 10 with a performance from the oldest continuous community band in Canada.

The Nanaimo Concert Band will bring the big band sound of more than 55 brass and woodwind instruments to the amphitheatre to get your toes tapping.

“We’re going to do lots of fun show tunes and big band tunes for this concert,” said band member and publicity co-ordinator Shari Barker. “The whole family will love it. There’s going to be a lot of energy.”

The all-ages concert will feature numbers like ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’, ‘My Inspiration’ and ‘Showbiz’, which was written by the band’s conductor, John Forbes.

“We play pretty well everything,” Barker said. “If it can be arranged, we can play it.”

The band covers a range of musical genres including swing, classical and musicals.

“There’s isn’t anything we haven’t done, we’ve even played opera,” Barker said.

A Victoria Music Hall of Famer, Forbes spent 30 years in the military band system. There, he not only played everything from keyboards to tuba to trumpet and percussion, but he also served as a concert pianist, vocalist, conductor and staff arranger for the military.

He was also a Nanaimo Concert Band member before becoming its conductor.

“He’s an amazing man and conductor and so full of energy, we just get so excited when we play under him,” Barker said.

The Nanaimo Concert Band was founded in 1872 by Reverend James Reynard and was originally known as the Nanaimo Brass Band.

Its current members are primarily based in Nanaimo, but there are a few that travel from Ladysmith, Chemainus and Parksville to get their musical fix. The band’s oldest member is Al Campbell, who played in the band for almost 70 years.

“It’s like a large family, and music’s their life,” said Barker, who has played clarinet with the band for the last 30 years.

“We have amateur to professional musicians, and even though I’m an amateur, the things I learn from these professionals; they’re amazing people to play with and they teach you so much.”

“I hardly ever miss a Monday night, it’s definitely my passion.”


Come out and enjoy the Nanaimo Concert Band at the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre on Sunday, July 10 from 6-8 p.m. Donations go towards the Ladysmith Resources Centre and its programming.