Alumni and community band continue music after university

Many musicians are left with no place to play coming out of graduation.

Christopher Ng, a University of Toronto alumnus, decided to fill that niche by initiating the UTSC Alumni and Community Concert Band. The band allows musicians, including himself, to continue their passion for music after graduation.

Ng takes care of the music direction as the conductor of the band, as his counterpart Ainsley Lawson plays the clarinet and deals with the administration.

Lawson feels it’s unfair when musicians leave university and stop performing just because they have no opportunities to play.

“A lot of people are in a band and after university they kind of have nowhere to play,” she said. “It [the band] is a place for people to play after high school or university where they otherwise wouldn’t have a place to continue with their music.”

Having this alumni band, you sort of hold onto those ties.

— Christopher Ng

The band recently played at the Spring Awakening concert. The concert was held at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus last Sunday. Not only did it provide a place to perform, it also gave a chance for the alumnus to reconnect with their university.

Through the band, Ng wants people to have fun, play music and be able to stay in touch with friends, teachers and classmates who they may have lost connection with.

“People will walk in and out of your lives,” Ng said. “Having this alumni band, you sort of hold onto those ties.”

The UTSC alumni and community band perform at last Sunday’s Spring Awakening concert at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/RR_alumniconcertband_040712.mp3]

It has been two years since UTSC Alumni and Community Concert Band was created. It started with 12 members and has since grown to 32 members. They rehearse every Thursday for three months leading up to a performance, after which they take a month-long break. It’s an all year round gig. The band is comprised of all types of instruments including woodwinds, brass, and percussion.

Lynn Tucker, the director of Arts and Events programming and a visual and performing arts lecturer at the UTSC campus, says the alumni and community band allows graduates to be involved with their community.

“Opening the doors here, to the general public as well, it’s just a great way for us to bridge that gap between the university and graduates,” Tucker said. “I think it’s important for them to engage in their own community, for them to have a way to give back to the community, in this case, we are advocating for music and engagement in the arts.

To attract more alumnus and community members to join, the UTSC Music Ambassadors Program held a reception following the Spring Awakening music concert.

Patrick Dan Lacuna, president of the association, encourages their philosophy that “music is a lifelong journey” and wants to spread the word about the UTSC Alumni and Community Concert Band’s existence.

“The main purpose [of the reception] is to let people know that the alumni band has already started, and we are looking to make it bigger and we are looking for more members,” Lacuna said.

The band is currently recruiting before their summer term rehearsals which will begin in May. For more information you can e-mail the band at [email protected]