Members Info

ATTENTION: due to the closure of Cornell Community Centre, MCB rehearsals are cancelled until further notice. Updates here as we have them.


Signing up for our members-only email list

The Band has a private email list which we use for updates on concert cancellations, upcoming events, and rehearsal playlists. To receive these important messages you must sign up by sending an e-mail to MCB members list with “subscribe” (no quotes) in the subject line telling us your name and which section you’re in. (Already signed up? Click HERE to be transferred to the group login page.)

Percussion equipment moving roster

The current version of the roster for moving percussion is available here.

Message from Doug – Sept 20th
A couple of FYIs if you missed yesterday’s rehearsal.
Best wishes to Wendy Dixon and her bionic knee!
Ron Partch is retiring. Many of the brass players have been to Dr. Partch. I might have been in high school the first time he saw my tuba…
We have two more outdoor rehearsals scheduled. Our contacts from the City of Markham have stopped responding to emails, so the exec’s next step is to investigate private options. If anyone has a personal contact with someone having a large indoor space suitable for a 50 piece band- church hall, unused commercial space- please let me know. We’ll be back in Cornell Community Centre eventually, but right now there are still no plans to open the building to the public.
Right now, next Sunday’s weather looks pretty soggy. Please check your email before heading out. If we need to cancel, we’ll make the call no later than 2 pm.
Our outdoor rehearsals are at Beth’s partner’s farm. We will rehearse every Sunday at 3:30 pm with the exception of Thanksgiving, if we continue that long. 
– In the event of rain, we’ll cancel by email by 2pm. Rain dates are the day after (Monday) at 7pm.  (Rain then too? Week off.)
– you need to bring: stand, music, chair, mask.
Here’s the playlist for Sept. 26:
Message from Doug – Sept 13th

Good rehearsal yesterday. Turned out to be a beautiful day- I hope we get lots more like that.

Guests Heather, Jake and Cathy- I’ve BCC’d you on this email, but I’d prefer in the future that you get your MCB info in one of two ways:
1) Sign up for our email list: send an e-mail to MCB members list with “subscribe” (no quotes) in the subject line telling us your name and which section you’re in.
2) Visit our website, where Gord faithfully posts the weekly eblasts. Disadvantage- last minute weather cancellations won’t be posted.
As I mentioned at Sunday’s rehearsal, the exec is continuing to work through the very slow process of securing an indoor rehearsal site. Stay tuned. Our expectation is that everyone who wants to rehearse indoors will be fully vaccinated. It’s not clear yet what the City of Markham guidelines will be, but it wouldn’t be shocking if they require proof of vaccination to enter city facilities. If you haven’t done so already, visit  to download a summary of your COVID vaccinations.
– In the event of rain, we’ll cancel by email by 2pm. Rain dates are the day after (Monday) at 7pm.  (Rain then too? Week off.)
– you need to bring: stand, music, chair, mask.
Playlist and download links for our Sept. 19 rehearsal:
Message from Doug – Sept 2nd

Sorry this is later than usual- some unexpected problems to solve.

Speaking of problems, we’re inching ahead on securing an indoor location at a reasonable price, but there’s still nothing definite to report. Like most of the rest of the world, City of Markham administrators are in wait-and-see mode.
I hope that if any of you were still on the fence about getting vaccinated, the Ontario government’s plan to require proof of vaccination for restaurants, gyms, etc. provides the push you need. Several of our members are concerned about indoor rehearsals with non-vaccinated players.
Our next rehearsal is Sunday, Sept. 12, 3:30 pm. (The rain date, if needed, would be Monday Sept. 13, and given the bugs from last time, let’s use 6:30 – 8 pm.)
Message from Doug – Aug 29th

Wet, hot, humid and a thunderstorm watch tip the scales on cancelling. No rehearsal today. For those that can make it, tomorrow, same place, 7 pm. Bring a stand light!

Message from Doug – Aug 20th
Message from Doug – Aug 8th

It was a pleasure to be conducting again, and I hope you all had as much fun as I did. I’d set my expectations for musical results pretty low, given the circumstances, so our successes today were a pleasant surprise.

Many thanks to Beth for hosting the rehearsal!

So sorry that those of you who planned to come Saturday but were busy today missed out. The exec will continue to try and get answers from Cornell re our return, or investigate other indoor sites as a backup. (The last City of Markham e-blast mentioned the reopening of several community centres, but Cornell was to remain a centre for COVID vaccinations.)

No Weekly Challenge today/tomorrow- asap, the exec will draft a poll and get your opinion on how to move forward with outdoor rehearsals.

Message from Doug – July 30th

August 2 is our Zoom rehearsal. Here’s the playlist:







D+ scale
Weekly challenge: We’ll finish up our work on Marche Slave. The third section is the standing-O worthy finish.
Practice 15 – end Marche Slave: As usual, mp3 #1 is a slowed version, and mp3 #2 is up to speed. And at 18, that’s pretty fast. 😀
Listening: mp3 #4 is a very nice effort by a Malaysian youth ensemble. Very nice balance for what’s presumably a live recording. An interesting choice at timestamp 6:59. The tubas end up dropping that wildly difficult bassline an octave. I’m not sure if I like it, but it’s a daring choice. Less ritardando than some groups going into 17 than some groups, and then a super aggressive tempo at 7:23- perhaps some adrenaline from the conductor or timpanist- then things settle down a bit.
Message from Doug – July 25th

Our next Zoom rehearsal is Monday August 2. Might have been better to do a quick poll about using the end of the holiday weekend, but… oh, well. I’ll wave my arms around for whoever shows up.

Here’s the playlist for August 2:
D+ scale
For our weekly challenge, we’re continuing work on Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave.
Practice Marche Slave 8 – 15: The three rehearsal mp3s are #1a (8-12 slow), #1b (12-15 slow) and #2 (8-15 up to speed). Note that most of the ff passages have a nice light bounce to them. The syncopated horn part is a big trap- many of the recorded bands I’ve heard struggle with it.
Listening: mp3#4 is a Kentucky All-State band. As you listen, be aware of what the band is doing well, and what is still a problem. Nice, brave tuba section at 8:47! However, they have a tendency to drag on the low, slow stuff and rush as quick rhythmic passages ascend. Practicing with a metronome will help build internal awareness of tempo. 
Message from Doug – July 18th

Our Zoom rehearsal is July 19. Here’s the playlist:

This week, we’ll start working on one of my favourite old pot-boilers- Marche Slave.
Practice March Slave, 0 – 8: Some of the upper woodwinds have some challenging bits. The mp3 #1 covers sections 4 – 7 slowly. #2 is up to speed, 0 – 8. The triplet markings for the upper woodwinds are inconsistent. Effectively, you’re working in 12/8 time for some of the piece, with each beat subdivided into some variation of three triplet eighth notes. 
Listening: mp3 #3 is a recording of the always-excellent Tokyo Kosai. Note how they don’t rush the grace notes, and the precise unity of the busy parts. 
Message from Doug – July 11th

Thanks to all of you who joined us on Monday for our AGM. Best Use of Technology award goes to the Marshalls, who checked in from Alberta.

Our next Zoom rehearsal is July 19. Here’s the playlist:
July 12 Weekly Challenge:
Practice The Entertainer, E – end: The link takes you to mp3 #1, a slow version, and the up-to-speed mp3 #2. Keep working on technical facility so we can hit the challenging metronome speed, and still be precise and clear.
Listening: I’ve included a link to a community band from Oregon, playing an arrangement that features a small group out front of the band. A stately tempo, but some fine players.
Message from Doug – June 27th
Hugh Wallis made some changes to his march. Please delete any older PDFs and mp3s, and re-download this latest version. Thanks!

Our next Zoom meeting is July 5. In addition to the pleasure of “playing” mp3s together, it’s also our annual AGM! Please make every effort to attend, or at least drop in at 7:45 for the AGM part of the evening. Your exec is working hard behind the scenes navigating potential post-COVID paths, and your input is important.

Here’s the schedule for July 5:
7:45- Annual General Meeting
Department of Yummy Cupcakes:
MCB Clarinetist Rachel Murad is the Owner, Head Baker, and Decorator at “Rachie Cakes”. After enjoying a particularly delicious Father’s Day gift of her cupcakes, I’m happy to vouch for her work.
I had no idea that Rachel had her own business. Particularly in these COVID-recovery times, it’s nice to support small local businesses. If any of you have similar projects on the go, please email me and I’ll be happy to showcase your efforts in our weekly e-blast.
June 28 Weekly Challenge
Let’s finish up our work on Commemoration Overture.
Practice 102-end Commemoration Overture: Only a few technical challenges left- a few woodwind runs and some precise fanfare figures. Pay close attention to the well-edited dynamics. For example four bars before 128, there’s a four bar sequence of bell tones spread throughout the band. Matching articulation styles is important. There are two mp3s in the link below for this section- slow and normal.
Listening: Our guest group is (as far as I can tell from Google translate) a German school of music. Perhaps a few more tuning issues, but I do prefer the balance they have at 19, in some of the B section, and at 108. Have a listen and decide what you would ask for. That last ending note is a hard sell- again, I think the German band choice of a slightly longer final note works better. When MCB rehearses this piece, I’d like to see if we can project the fanfare articulations more clearly.
Message from Doug – June 19th

Our Zoom rehearsal is June 21. Here’s the play list:

June 21 Weekly Challenge:
We’ll continue our study of Commemoration Overture.
Warmup Db+: long tones and facility exercises
Practice Commemoration Overture 44-102: Technically easy, but tuning the unexpected harmonies will be a challenge. Listening to the recording to understand where your note fits in the chord will be helpful. Mp3 #2 is the practice track up to speed.
Listening: mp3 #4 is a high school band from North Carolina. Lots of good playing, but listen for occasional tuning problem. Comparing this track to mp3 #3 will help develop your ear and raise your exceptions of what’s acceptable. Upper woodwind octaves are always a challenge. Also, these less mature players aren’t always sustaining the longer notes to the same degree as mp3 #3.
Message from Doug – June 13th
Our next Zoom rehearsal is June 21, and the playlist is at the end of this email.
This week, we start working on Commemoration Overture, a commissioned work by Robert Sheldon. The program notes talk about the fanfares, majestic themes, and heartfelt melodies. It’s a not-too-hard grade three, and we could polish it quickly for an effective theatre concert choice.
Warm-up Db+: As we cycle through all the major scales, I’d encourage you to warm up with long tones, and then pick a technical variation that gives you a bit of a stretch.
Practice Commemoration Overture 0-43: That attached mp3s #1 and #2 are slow and normal speeds respectively. Other than a busy snare drum line, the only technical issues will be the precise articulation markings on the sixteenth notes.
Listening: mp3 #3 is a “house recording” by the publisher. Superior tuning and tone, and I really like the choice of the sustained sounds in the lyrical sections. I’d definitely like to hear cleaner articulations in the flutes, saxes and trumpets, though. It isn’t until bar 8 until the slur two-slur two pattern is clear.
Playlist for June 21:
Message from Doug – June 6th
Our next Zoom rehearsal is Monday June 7. Here’s the playlist and resources:
The warmup scale will be Ab+.
Weekly Challenge: We’ll be finishing up Hugh’s Allensbank march this week.
Warmup: I’d suggest Ab+ and Db+. Start with long tones, and try one of these technical variations:
Practice Allensbank E to the end (mp3s #1 and #2) and then run the piece with mp3 #3. No repeats on the DC! 
Listening: With only one recording, there’s no opportunity for comparative listening. Try putting away your music and listening for form and key centre changes. That will help you place your part correctly in live rehearsals.
And finally- our heroes are enjoying a drink in the Gambling Golem when they’re approached by a damsel in distress. Her husband, son and several miners are overdue, and she wants the party to investigate. It  quickly becomes obvious that more is going on than anyone realized. June 16 and June 22, MCB D&D. We’ve got four players so far, and have room for a couple more. Let me know if you’re interested.

Message from Doug – May 30th

Reminder- Dropbox links are no longer active. We’ve moved everything to Google Drive.

D&D update: the MCB campaign is coming to a climax- the long-lost mine of Phandelver has been found, as have one of the three missing dwarfs. Due to some player holidays, though, we have a couple of one-shot adventures coming up- Wednesday June 16 and Tuesday June 22. If you’d like to join the fun, email me. You’ll need a computer, internet access, and about 20 minutes to download, install and set up the programs (Fantasy Grounds and Syrinscape).
Next Zoom rehearsal is June 7. Playlist at the end of this email.
This week, we’ll start working on a new march by Hugh Wallis, a former MCB tuba player. It’s Hugh’s first significant composition, and he says that he’s had the themes rolling around in his head for years. It was originally written for brass band, and was just rescored for concert band. You folks will be the first to try it, and I know you’ll enjoy it.
Warmup: The march is in Eb+, Ab+ and Db+. Consider working on the scale patterns explained here, with a variety of articulations.
Practice Allensbank, 0-E. The “A” section of the march is in 2/4 time. The link below contains section 0 – E: first slow, and then up to speed. Practice any sixteenth patterns, aiming for timing precision. It will be hard to duplicate the rhythmic accuracy of a MIDI file, but that’s our goal.
Listening: mp3 #3 is a MIDI file of the whole piece. That’s all that’s available right now, since it’s a new piece. Fortunately, the MIDI instrument files are quite good, so it’s an easy listen. Note that we’ll be taking second endings on the DC. In Hugh’s notes for the piece, he mentioned the references to “The Maple Leaf Forever” and George Allan’s “Knight Templar”. 
The warmup scale will be Ab+.

Message from Doug – May 23rd

Our next Zoom meeting is May 24. We’re transitioning from Dropbox to Google Drive, so last week’s download links have expired. If you still need anything, here are the links for this week’s play-throughs. 

If you’ve got lots of storage space in Google Drive, it might be easier for you to become a shared user of our various MCB folders. Until we get back to live rehearsals, the only folder needed is MCB Zoom rehearsal resources. It’s currently about 1GB of data, but the longer we Zoom, the more files will go in.
Eventually, you will have the option to access MCB Live (our recent theatre shows), MCB Reference recordings (mp3s by pro and community groups of the pieces in our current folder) and MCB rehearsal recordings (edited recordings of recent MCB rehearsals).
Warm-up: consider using the challenges in Extended Scales
Practice Marching Down Broadway, 183-end. You’ve got mp3s #1a and #1b, which are slowed and cover 183-243 and 243-end respectively. #2 is 183-end up to speed. Barker’s inventive writing involves lots of accidentals- work carefully!
Listening: there was only one decent recording of MDB I could find, unfortunately. We were lucky it was a good one. One interesting note for bars 207 – 215: the conductor ignored the printed dynamics. We’ll try Barker’s interpretation when we’re back to live rehearsals, and see if there was a good reason.

Message from Doug – May 16th

Next Zoom rehearsal is Monday, May 24. Eb+ extended warmup. See below for the playlist.

During the May 10 Zoom meeting, we held a brief chat and voted on trying to use Jamulus. The majority thought that the tech requirements were unreasonably high for our group, so we’ll continue with the status quo Zoom quasi-rehearsals.
This week, we’ll start a fun piece arranged by Warren Barker: Marching Down Broadway. I guess some of the pre-Manning members have played it, but it’s new to me. PDFs and mp3s are in the links below.
Practice: I’ve provided three mp3s this week: #1 is a slow version from the beginning to bar 112, #2 is a slow version of 112 – 181, and #2 is an up to speed cut. The snare drummer is taking the opening ppp dynamic very literally- you might not hear the first bar. As usual, there’s a four click count-in. With regards to key centres, Barker toys with expectations a bit. Having a few listens will help you place your note properly in the challenging chords.
Listening: mp3 #3 is a recording of a fine band- the Australian Army Band. Of all the groups I’ve heard, they might use the “inverted triangle” sound best- very light on the higher pitched instruments, and a broad bass. The effect is quite different than most groups- have a listen.
May 24 Playlist:

Message from Doug – May 9th

Our next Zoom rehearsal is May 10. The playlist is:

Followup info on Jamulus: 
I took a detailed look at the tech requirements, and had an email exchange with the conductor of Richmond Hill Philharmonic. They are successfully using Jamulus for a more authentic rehearsal experience. They can all hear each other, but sometimes the conducting video gets out of sync, so their conductor taps on her music stand when necessary. 
However, it’s clear that Wi-fi isn’t an option. All participants would need to be using ethernet internet connections. All participants would need a quality USB mic or a good dynamic or condenser mic plugged into an external audio interface that’s connected to your computer by USB. No iPads- you’d need a desktop or laptop computer (either Windows, Mac or Linux). Only a reasonable internet speed is required- 10Mbps down and 1 Mbps up should be fine. The Jamulus software is free, but requires careful setup. If you’re interested, here’s a PDF with the details.
Of course, absolutely everyone participating would need to meet these tech requirements. One person using Wi-fi will create problematic latency.
The MCB exec thinks it unlikely that our Zoom participants all have this hardware and the tech experience to set it up. We can take a quick poll on Monday to find out if we’re right.
Weekly Challenge: This week, we’ll finish up Carpenters Forever
Practice Carpenters Forever, F – end: There are only a few technical challenges, so no slow version this time. Trombones, try to match the nice style at G. 
Listening: Check out mp3s #3 and #4. One is Toyko Kosei, the other is MCB. We match up well in lots of spots! There are still some moments, though, where we lose tuning focus for a bit. Interesting electric guitar in the Kosei recording at I.

Message from Doug – April 29th

As requested:

Rehearsal numbers
1. at the first repeat sign
2. 19 bars after 1
3. Andante Moderato
4. Allegretto
5. Allegro
6. left end of the repeated section
7. right end of the repeated section
8. double bar
9. Allegretto moderato
10. Allegro moderato
11. Habanera
12. 2nd bar of the 2nd ending
13. Allegro moderato
14. 18 bars after 13
15. Allegro moderato
16. Allegretto
17. 25 bars after 16
18 Allegretto
19. 19 bars after 18
20. Animato
21. Allegro vivo
22. 19 bars after 21
23. Allegro vivo
24. 35 bars after 23
25. 23 bars after 24
26. Allegro moderato
27.  bruscamenta, ritmato
28. the bar after the fermata
29. leggiero e con fatuità, sempre con ritmo
Enjoy your week. I’m about to start scanning a Carpenter’s medley for next week’s challenge.

Message from Doug – April 25th

Playlist for April 26:

Question of the Week: 
Our question of the week comes from one of our band members: What is your favourite piece that MCB has played in the past? Please email me directly with your responses. 
So many great pieces, cannot pick just one favorite. That is a great dilemma to have, I think. DG
Impossible to choose from all the pieces we’ve played!! I’ve loved the standard ones, like any Holst, of course, and the swing/jazzy ones as well, but what I also like is how I’ve been surprised as we learned a piece, especially a tricky one, to find I actually ended up loving that piece in spite of my first inclinations! I also enjoy playing the pieces composed by Band members. Truthfully, there have been very few pieces I haven’t liked.  DC
My favourite was Sound of Music. FD
This week, I’m introducing a piece pulled from the depths of the MCB Library. Several of the parts had pencil marks, so I suspect some of you played it with one of the previous conductors. It’s a Warren Barker, but not the usual wonderful pop arrangement. This is an original tone poem, depicting the changing mood and weather over the course of a day at a river’s bend. Not too many technical challenges, but requires tuning excellence to be effective.
Warmup: player’s choice
Practice: Rhythmic independence is important- listen carefully for the triplet eights playing against duple eighths. There are loads of accidentals and some adventurous harmonies and implied key modulations. You’ll need to get very familiar with your part, so you can listen and fit your notes in the challenging chords. Note at rehearsal 55, the entire band changes to the key C- no key signature for anyone. That’s usually a sign of key centres shifting so quickly that a key signature becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Relative normalcy arrives at 102.
Listening: This is a quality work, but definitely not one of Barker’s more accessible charts. Take the time to listen to mp3 #3 several times before playing along. The recording comes from the Pepper website. Mp3 #4 is a college band from Singapore. There are some recording problems (changing volumes) that I tried to smooth out (with limited success), but it’s worth having a listen to a different interpretation.

Message from Doug – April 18th

Our next Zoom rehearsal is Monday, April 26. The playlist is at the end of this email.

Our question of the week comes from one of our band members: What is your favourite piece that MCB has played in the past? Please email me directly with your responses. 
This week, we’ll finish up our work on Carmen. If you missed this info before, please note that you’ll need to add rehearsal numbers as follows.
1. at the first repeat sign
2. 19 bars after 1
3. Andante Moderato
4. Allegretto
5. Allegro
6. left end of the repeated section
7. right end of the repeated section
8. double bar
9. Allegretto moderato
10. Allegro moderato
11. Habanera
12. 2nd bar of the 2nd ending
13. Allegro moderato
14. 18 bars after 13
15. Allegro moderato
16. Allegretto
17. 25 bars after 16
18 Allegretto
19. 19 bars after 18
20. Animato
21. Allegro vivo
22. 19 bars after 21
23. Allegro vivo
24. 35 bars after 23
25. 23 bars after 24
26. Allegro moderato
27.  bruscamenta, ritmato
28. the bar after the fermata
29. leggiero e con fatuità, sempre con ritmo
It seemed to take a long time to confirm the first quarter of these a few weeks ago, so please do your best to figure the rehearsal marks out before next Monday.
Warmup: player’s choice, but my suggestion is to try a scale you don’t know well. Warmups can always be both physical and mental, and should always be played musically.
Practice: #21 will take careful placement of the sixteenth notes to sound clear to the audience. The break inserted at #23 gives two quick bars of three before restarting. If you’ve got melody, tune the octaves carefully! From 26, it’s just a toe-tapping good time. (The poor lonely euph player in the recording is a bit overwhelmed by the rest of the band.)
Listening: I’m not sure I enjoy the interpretation of #3 in the last four bars. #4 (the Chinese student group), on the other hand, suffers from over-enthusiastic percussion.
Playlist for April 26:

Message from Doug – April 11th

Hope you can all join us for the Zoom rehearsal on April 12. Just drop in to say hi if you don’t feel like playing.
Reminder re Vern’s new piece I sent out last week- if you’re enjoying the sonorous tones of Gord’s MIDI file, great. But if you’d like something better, record yourself playing along to the track and email me the file. If we get a reasonable number of files, I’ll stitch them together for an MCB performance.
Weekly Challenge: Let’s continue to work on Carmen.
Warmup: player’s choice
Practice Carmen rehearsal marks 15 – 18 and 18 -21: In both cases, I’ve provided slow (#1) and up to speed (#2) versions. Remember these are originally vocal melodies- strive to play with a light, singing sound.
Listening: mp3 #4 appears to be a middle school or early high school student band. Very impressive technical facility, and I prefer some of their musical choices. (Bass line at rehearsal #3!) However, they edited it for their performance, leaving out some sections and taking a full break that wasn’t in the original arrangement. Definitely worth a listen, though. If you want to see them:
Message from Doug – April 3rd
Happy Easter! Whether you observe the religious holiday or just eat the chocolate bunnies, it’s a sure sign that spring is coming.
Next Zoom rehearsal is April 12. The playlist is at the bottom of this email.
We’ll take a week off our mastery of Carmen to enjoy one of Vern’s latest pieces: What Could Possibly Go Wrong.
Warmup: player’s choice
Practice: When you get melody, bring it out. If you’re accompanying, strive for a light decay on long notes, rather than a full sustained sound.
Listening: There’s no live recording of this piece yet. We do have a MIDI generated version which is ever-so-slightly better than nothing. If you’re feeling ambitious, put on headphones, set up a mic, and record yourself playing along. Then email me the file. If I get a critical mass of recordings, I’ll stitch them together for a pseudo-live performance.
Here’s the playlist for our April 12 Zoom rehearsal:
Message from Doug – March 21st
Our next Zoom rehearsal is March 29. For those who like to work ahead, please see the bottom of this email for the  playlist. Still lots of head room for guests, so if you have a friend that would benefit from some social contact and sort-of playing together, encourage them to email me and I’ll get them set up.
I did some research into Jamulus. It’s an interesting concept, and might work for a small group of tech-savvy musicians, but I don’t think it’s viable for our group. They strongly suggest ethernet internet, not wifi, and specific microphones that few of us own. As far as I can tell, we’re doing about as well as we can with the current restrictions.
I visited Cornell on Thursday and brought home about five linear feet of music. There’s a variety of styles and difficulty. Some of our more recently performed pieces are either still in folders or not sorted and filed, so apologies to those who requested recent favourites.
For what it’s worth, the staff member at Cornell said that they’d been told to expect Cornell closure for the rest of 2021, with a possible call back in December to prepare for a January opening. Of course, no one knows whether that “opening” will include instrumental rehearsals.
Your exec will consider all options, but it’s unlikely we’re going to see resolution or even timelines for resolution soon. Hang in there, and find a way to stay involved in music and whatever other avenues of fulfillment you can find.
Question of the Week: Consider the evolution of TV and our viewing habits. Some of us are old enough to remember over-the-air signals and roof antennas. Then cable with the big grey box with two rows of buttons, remotes, and eventually a proliferation of channels and an unprecedented split of viewership. Perhaps we’re now seeing the same proliferation of steaming services- from Netflix, Disney+, and Crave to Crunchyroll and Britbox. Not to mention YouTube and various social media streams! Has your TV viewing shifted from live cable to streaming? If so, what’s the current split? 
Bonus points if you want to discuss the societal implications. When everyone could only get five channels, you couldn’t help but be accidentally exposed to new ideas and concepts. Is it harmful/dangerous to have a media supply so focused an individualized experience that you could spend your entire life just having your existing beliefs reinforced?
Our Zoom rehearsal on March 29 will cover:
March 22 Weekly Challenge:
Warmup: player’s choice. But try a new scale!
Rehearse Carmen: #4 – 9. For those who missed last week’s addition of rehearsal numbers, see last week’s email on our website. (Thanks, Gord!)
Mp3s #1 and 2 are the slow and fast versions. The reference recording ignores the marked tempo change between #4 and #5. Watch the accidentals in section 6- effectively, it’s modulated to Eb-. 
Listening: I’ll confess to some reinterpretive audio alchemy. When I first heard mp3 #3, the Brazilian Municipal Band, I found the opening too rushed to be enjoyable- so I slowed it down a bit. 😀  Interestingly, mp3 #4 (an orchestral version of the Prelude to Act I) “rushed” in exactly the same way. Have a listen to the two tracks and see what you think.
Message from Doug – March 14th
Some fun responses to our Question of the Week: Nutritional and health concerns aside- if you had to exist on one food for the rest of your life, what food would you choose?
If I had to exist on one food for the rest of my life, it would be pasta! N.F.
The lowly potato.
Just imagine the variety of ways that the spud has been presented. You can eat it raw, you can grate it and fry it up as potato pancakes, blintzes, latkes, Roestie, depending on your country of origin; you can fry them as raw slices, you can of course boil them and eat them that way, or slice the boiled potatoes and fry those,  you can mash them, you can scallop them, deep fry them as French fries, prepare them as potato chips, as Buffalo fries, or wrap them in foil to roast in the oven or even in the hot coals of a fire, that’s just off the top of the head of a mere male …. Enough? You can plant them and get some more for next year. Or shall I dig up some more ways.
P.O. ….. I neglected to add that one can make vodka out of them to drown one’s sorrows.
Cookies. There’s such a wide variety of textures and flavours that I’d never tire of eating them. D.M.
Peanut butter. P.V.
Looks like I’m allowed inside Cornell on March 18 or so. Last call for any piece requests.
Our Zoom rehearsal on March 15 will cover:
This week, we’ll start working on a great old potboiler- a medley/suite of songs from Carmen. There are so many tempo changes, though, that I’m handling this one a bit differently. I’ve paused the recording every time there’s a significant tempo change, and provided a click-track count in. It’s about 15 minutes long with no rehearsal letters(!) so here’s a bit of homework. When you print out your part (see below) please add the following rehearsal numbers.
1. at the first repeat sign
2. 19 bars after 1
3. Andante Moderato
4. Allegretto
5. Allegro
6. left end of the repeated section
7. right end of the repeated section
8. double bar
9. Allegretto moderato
10. Allegro moderato
11. Habanera
12. 2nd bar of the 2nd ending
13. Allegro moderato
14. 18 bars after 13
15. Allegro moderato
16. Allegretto
17. 25 bars after 16
18 Allegretto
19. 19 bars after 18
20. Animato
21. Allegro vivo
22. 19 bars after 21
23. Allegro vivo
24. 35 bars after 23
25. 23 bars after 24
26. Allegro moderato
27.  bruscamenta, ritmato
28. the bar after the fermata
29. leggiero e con fatuità, sempre con ritmo
Do you best to follow these, and if necessary I’ll clarify gradually over the next few Zoom meetings.
And now- finally- the weekly challenge. Given that I’ve been writing these for about eight months now, I think you’ve got enough warmup ideas. 😀  Going forward, I’ll start with the rehearsal focus and then some listening challenges. But please take the time to warm up! It’s a great opportunity to make good sound and articulation a habit.
Practice Carmen, 0 – 4: Note that mp3 #1 is a slowed version 0 – 3. Some of you will need some woodshedding before attempting even the slow speed! Section 3 is introduced with three slow clicks. By the way, some of you have single note tremolos at 3. This isn’t something you’d see requested in modern band music, and I don’t think it works well on the sample recording. For now, I’d just play them as dotted half notes. We might experiment with some eighth note pulses when we’re back live.
Listening: mp3 #3 is recorded by a municipal band from Brazil. Generally excellent technique and dynamic contrasts! I’d like to hear the low instruments play with a more string bass style on the bump notes in section 3.

Message from Doug – March 7th

We’re finishing up Argentum this week, and I’m partway through preparing PDFs for a great old pot-boiler- Selections from Carmen.

For those of you who are working ahead, here’s our playlist for the March 15 Zoom rehearsal: 
Sing, Sing, Sing:
And thanks to Annamaria, who started me down the path to discover that on Zoom, I can screen share my audio only. That will simplify my workload and save some rehearsal time. 
Question of the Week: Nutritional and health concerns aside- if you had to exist on one food for the rest of your life, what food would you choose?
March 8 Weekly Challenge
Warmup Eb+: After the usual long tones, try slurs of increasing distance- Eb, F, Eb. Eb G Eb. Eb Ab Eb, etc.
Practice Argentum, M – end. There’s melody passed around to various sections, and in some cases groups of sixteenths. Work on pulsing and placing the sixteenths carefully and accurately, so they don’t get crunched and rushed.
Listening: mp3 #4 is a recording of our local Community Band weekend in 2019. Considering style, it’s the recording I like best. Unfortunately, the tuba section gets lost for a while, though…  After hearing #4, go back and listen to #3. In my opinion, there’s sometimes less pomposity and more nobility in #4. I think that’s what I’ll be aiming for. Also- and again just my opinion- the march would benefit from more variety in dynamics. The loud sections stay loud for a long time- I might edit some dynamics.

Message from Doug – February 28th

You might have run out of things to watch on Netflix by now. I stumbled across a series of excellent videos from Conn-Selmer. Something for everyone here, I think:
Reminder: March 1 MCB Zoom. It will be interesting to see how many subscribers join in. We’ll rehearse:
Weekly Challenge:
Warmup- Eb+ scale: After some long tones, try working on tonguing. Several sections might want to use double or triple tonguing in Argentum. Pick a note, play four slow quarters, four eights, eighth sixteenths, and eighth and triplet sixteenths x 4, and finish with a long tone. Gradually increase your speed. Coincidentally, there’s an articulation video in the link at the top of this email. Here’s the direct link:
Practice Argentum G to M: Depending on your section, there may be some technical challenges. Practice as slowly as you need to be perfect, and then work up to the mp3s speeds. As usual, mp3#1 is slow, and #2 is up to speed.
Listening: mp3 #3 is the Royal Regiment, and mp3 #4 is the Festival Wind Orchestra. There are probably more similarities than differences between the two performances. Think about what’s working, and what you’d do differently.

 Message from Doug – February 22nd

In a separate email, look for a PDF of our library listings. If you’re interested, browse the list and see if there’s anything you’d like me to add to the queue for our weekly challenges. I haven’t picked a date yet to go to Cornell to pick up music, but it will likely be in mid-March. So, no rush, but our access to the library is extremely limited. If you’ve got a request, be sure to get it in on this first visit. 

Our next Zoom will be March 1. Here’s the playlist, with PDFs and mp3s.
Re our last Zoom meeting- not shockingly, several of our expected guests were no-shows. Feel free to extend invitations to friends and family who might be interested- it looks like we’ll have lots of headroom on our max attendees. Please have them email me so I can add them to my MCB guest mailing list.
Question of the Week: What’s your go-to song/music when you want to improve your mood?  (It’s an eclectic selection of responses. Shockingly, no one mentioned Klingon opera.)
My go to song when I want to improve my mood would be Rock This Town by The Stray Cats. NF
My song is the uplifting ‘Passacaglia’ from Respighi’s ‘Ancient Airs and Dances’. WD
I usually put on CDs of Chopin, or, Band CDs.  No one song. DC
My go-to music is the Arrogant Worms, a Canadian comedy trio. They’re playing right now, in fact. 🙂 HW
There are so many, but this is one that works: July 1963, a hot one in Windsor Ontario, and then came a HEATWAVE! This version is sung by Joan Osborne and the Motown studio band. Love the Bari sax solo! Gotta put a smile on your face! DG
Weekly Challenge:
This week, we’ll start Argentum, a concert march by Canadian composer Louie Calleja. I’ve found three recordings to share. To be honest, none of them are flawless. Perhaps we’ll be the first band to record the definitive edition.
Warm-up Eb+: After the usual long tones, go for speed in groups of three or five notes. (12321, repeated several times. 123454321, repeated several times, 23432… and so on) This piece has lots of scale flourishes in some parts.
Practice Argentum 0 – G: The parts are very well edited with articulation markings, and a successful performance will require careful execution. Mp3 #1 is slowed for rehearsal, and mp3 #2 is up to speed- about mm=120.
Listening: mp3 #3 is by the Royal Regiment of Canada. Have a listen to the A section (0 – G) and see if you can hear all the parts, and hear the important lines clearly. For our performance, I’ll be trying for a difference balance. There’s a very nice also countermelody at D that’s getting buried right now, and I’d like to try a much lighter bass line.
Message from Doug – February 14th













Don’t forget to ask your instrumentalist friends if they’d like to join us on our Zoom meetings. Heather sent out an invitation to our subscribers. Somewhat shockingly, we had seven subscribers interesting in watching the fun!

Let’s try a Question of the Week. Email me directly with your response, and I’ll collate and publish anonymously in next week’s Challenge email. What’s your go-to song/music when you want to improve your mood? We call all use a big of joy right now, so let’s share some mood-changers.
This week’s challenge is a one-shot: a beautiful ballad by Robert Buckley called “Memento”. There was no need to create slower-tempi mp3s for this one, and there are very few technical challenges. We’ll cover the piece in one lesson, and try it out “together” in a couple of weeks.
Warmup F+ and Ab+: Try long tones on F+, and slurred intervals on Ab+ (degrees 1, 2, 1; 1, 3, 1; 1, 4, 1 and so on)
Practice Memento (all): There are very few technical challenges in Memento. Strive asap to duplicate the legato, sustained airflow in the demo recording. I only see one note in the piece that’s accented!
Listening: As noted above, the band in the demo mp3 did a wonderful job executing a sustained airstream. Tuning is also excellent. After listening to the recording a few times following your part, try turning your music over and listening again. Concentrate on hearing the players who aren’t playing melody, and how they’re supporting the melodic line. Also, listen for the key centre changes- both those marked with a key signature change, and the quick wanders into other keys using accidentals.
Message from Doug – February 7th

Lots of extra stuff this week! I’ll put the weekly challenge stuff first (almost), but there’s lots of followup info below.

I’d like to suggest some extra homework.. It’s been great to see so many of the band members during our Zoom meetings, but there have been some notable absences. Section leaders, over the course of the next week or so, could you please try and make contact with the players in your section we haven’t seen? I’ve called the tuba players, and all are well.
Weekly Challenge:
We’ll finish up Resurgences this week. I’ll also include links for the pieces we’ll run through at our Feb. 15 Zoom meeting.
Warmup- F+: After a long tone scale, try something to push your brain. How about playing the scale in thirds- F, A, G, Bb, and so on. If you’re already good at that, try 4ths! 
Practice Resurgences 101- end: In this recap to the A section, there’s enough familiar material that you shouldn’t need too much woodshedding. Dealing with tempo changes and no conductor will require a few listens to be able to anticipate properly.
Listening: mp3 #4 is a New Hampshire based group- an adult community band, I think. I quite like the timp player’s choice of hard sticks in the opening. There are some wonderful moments, but some real challenges in tuning. They don’t seem to have any alto saxes, but a strong horn section makes it work.
Other Business
Thanks to John Sellens for these links to articles about Jack MacQuarrie:













Yuki had a friend pass along some interesting social distancing rehearsal software. 
I’ve taken a quick peek, and it looks impressive but challenging. The video I watched suggested that it’s advisable to use ethernet rather than wifi, which will be a non-starter for some of us. I’ll investigate further and report back.
We had some good info shared during last Monday’s meeting:
1) Ninja Tuner- Len’s on-line tuner solution.
2) Smart Music- Phil’s mp3 play-along site.
4) Audacity- the free audio editor I use.
We discussed inviting non-MCB members to our bi-weekly Zoom. It will promote interest in MCB from other musicians and help us stay in touch with our subscriber base. Heather agreed to contact our subscribers, and for musicians, we’ll start with your friends. Feel free to share the following with any band instrument friends that might want to engage with us:
Markham Concert Band is holding Zoom meetings every other Monday night, 7:30 pm – 8:30(ish). We have PDF music of our target pieces for the evening, and stream conductor’s video and mp3s. Everyone has their mics muted, due to the latency issue. If you’d like to play with us, please email Doug at to receive the log-in info and loaner PDFs.
We already have one person interested- James, a trombone player.
Followup to Peter’s question- Euph trill Bb to C
I couldn’t find an answer, so I emailed Carina Lam, the euph soloist that debuted Kristie’s piece a few years ago. Her response was quick and detailed:
When I trill middle Bb to C, I also use first valve. (In the higher octave, I would do open valve.) I think the challenge with this interval here is having control of your instrument and ultimately having a solid lip flexibility to prevent that “break” in sound. What have you tried already? Have you tried the following?:

















1) mouthpiece buzz 
– gliss very slowly between Bb and C (get the pitches as in tune as possible)
– eliminate all breaks and aim for a steady clear pitch bend up and down
-work to keep your embouchure steady, reduced movement in chin/jaw in an effort to have steady airflow
-then once that’s all under control, start buzzing them faster in eights, sixteenths, sextuplets..etc.
2) half-valve on the instrument while playing the pitches Bb & C, following the same approach as buzzing
3) then try it again on the instrument and it should feel easier to achieve after regular practice, tongue /air coordination also impacts the output of the trill. 
Peter, I hope that helps.
If you’re still reading- stay safe, and do something that brings you joy.

Maps for our Shows

Click ‘view larger map’ on a particular map to go to a full-sized one where you can also get directions to the concert.

Flato Markham Theatre

Markham Fair

Markham Village Festival (Main St Markham and Robinson)

Orillia Aqua Theatre


Details in the event of rain for Orillia

Doors to the Opera House will only be open at 5:30pm for load in. Band members can enter via the elevator entrance or front door. The elevator entrance is through the double doors – with windows – toward the back of the Opera House, directly across from the Library entrance in the parking lot.

From the elevator, the stage is on the 3rd floor. From the front entrance or ground floor, the stage is on the 1st floor (meaning up the stairs and through the double doors).

Unionville Millennium Bandstand

Click ‘view larger map’ on a particular map to go to a full-sized one where you can also get directions to the concert.

Suggestion Box (from Heather – June 19, 2019)

Many of you have given the exec ideas and suggestions, which is great. It’s often hard for us to keep track, though, especially when they’re given at rehearsals and we don’t have a chance to write them down.

So, we now have a form! If you go to you can give us your suggestion and why you think it’s something MCB should do. All responses come directly to me, and if they fit with our five-year plan I’ll take them to the exec for a group decision on whether (and when) to go ahead.

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