Two Prince George gems have joined together to produce a full-fledge drum corps program for local youth.
Paul Brett was one of the founders of the Sound of the North Drum Corps in 2001, but after a couple of years it became difficult to find a venue that was affordable for the non-profit group and dependable.
That all changed a few weeks ago when Brett joined forces with the Prince George Conservatory of Music. Now, with the partnership of the Conservatory and its faculty, including Broek Bosma, Brett says the corps is back in the business of giving kids the opportunity to explore a new musical experience.
“I’ve been drumming sporatically since I was a teenager,” said Brett, whose other music endeavors include work with the Prince George Community Band, local jazz group Bop and a jazz based radio show every Friday on CFUR.
“I joined a drum corps when I was 12 or 13 and really knew nothing and now I play frequently around town. I play all the time.”
When he’s not working his full-time job with the Prince George Sheriff’s Department.
His dedication is obvious as he taps out the beat for a group of 12 youths who came to Wednesday night’s rehearsal at the Conservatory, located at Knox United Church on Fifth Avenue.
Brett is hoping for a full complement of keen drummers before the end of summer.
For now, the program is free, offering kids a chance to experiment and see if it’s something they’d like to pursue.
“Eventually I would like to see, and this is long term, that it develops into a full complement, one that can enter competitions in North America,” Brett said. “It’s do-able.”
Sixty members would be ideal, he says, and that would include a colour guard to lead with a swash of flying flags, and eventually a horn section.
While drums are one focus, cymbals are also a part of a drum corps. Ten-year-old Megan Watt received expert instruction from Bosma on the subtleties of cymbal playing, explaining the correct way to hold the giant golden pans, as well as how to brush one against the other to achieve different sounds.
“It’s pretty much just show up and bang,” said Bosma, noting that Brett will be an instructor at the Conservatory this coming fall, teaching drumming.
“Isn’t it just amazing the jewels of talent you find in this community,” Bosma says.
Brett says the summer program will run through August, with the formal fall program beginning in September.”For the summer, it’s for free and for fun,” he says.
For more information about the drum corps, call 614-2624, daytime or 565-1914 in the evening.