Many graduating music students are left with no place to play after finishing school, but Christopher Ng decided to fix that.
Two years ago Ng, a University of Toronto alumnus, began the UTSC Alumni and Community Concert Band. It started with 12 members and has since grown to 32.
Ng takes care of the music direction as conductor while his counterpart, Ainsley Lawson, plays the clarinet and deals with the administration.
“People will walk in and out of your lives. Having this alumni band, you sort of hold onto those ties,” said Ng, who wants to help his fellow alumni stay in touch with friends, teachers, and classmates who they may have lost contact with.
Alumni band members play all types of instruments, including woodwinds, brass, and percussion — opportunities they would have had no access to after university.
“It’s a place for people to play after high school or university where they otherwise wouldn’t have a place to continue with their music,” Lawson said.
Despite their busy schedules, the band rehearses every Thursday for three months leading to a performance, after which they take a much-deserved month-long break.
Recently, they performed at the Spring Awakening concert that was held at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.
Lynn Tucker, UTSC’s Arts and Events programming director and a visual and performing arts professor, said the alumni and community band allows graduates to be involved with their community.
“I think it’s important 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,” Tucker said.
To attract more alumni 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, believes the philosophy that “music is a lifelong journey.”
He 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.