The Second Wind Community Band was started twenty years ago by Laura Mercer who still serves as one of the band directors. Of the 45 people who showed up for that first session, most could not read music and had never played a musical instrument before. But the members were keen and Mercer was patient. Today the band has over forty-five members, a second Conductor, Sean McLennon, and the overall musical level has improved.
Over the years, the group has become a beautiful instrumental ensemble that has developed a diverse range of repertoire from classical to pop and folk. They have created many musical experiences for their members and their audiences that have watched them mature musically throughout the last 20 years.
Second Wind plays at a variety of events and concerts. They support very special groups each year – the L’arche Cape Breton Community, the Every Woman’s Centre ‘Adopt-a Family’ program, Feed NS, the school band program at Malcolm Munroe JHS among others. Since 1998, Second Wind has sponsored the annual Cape Breton Community Band Fall Fest for the benefit of all Maritime community band members and bands.
The band now has various levels of talent and experience. They have those first time players, some lapsed players who had musical training as children, and experienced performers, music educators, members from other ensembles and even a couple of professional musicians. Whatever the level or reason for joining, they have become a closely knit and dedicated group, where rehearsals are considered an enjoyable social outing as well as a worthwhile musical learning experience. Second Wind is a second chance for musicians and it gets them to take time for themselves out of their hectic schedules to sit down on a regular basis, pick up their instruments and practice.
The band is excited to present their “Music For Life” concert under the batons of Mercer and McLennon, full of repertoire from some standard concert band charts to the famous “Mars” from Holst’s “The Planets” to a variety of favourite selections from a musical or two. You will hear pop tunes and some traditional tunes arranged by noted Nova Scotian artists, and picturesque numbers that could take you to Norway and Newfoundland. Something for everyone. Come and watch them weave their story of the last 20 years through some great music and also with their special guests.
In this special anniversary concert, Second Wind is excited to be accompanying two special guests, Scott Macmillan and Colin Grant, and to welcome back to the stage, Linda and Holley Muise singing with the band some favourites from popular musicals. The concert takes place Sunday, May 8 at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay. Showtime is 7pm. Tickets are $25 ($10 for students if tickets purchased at Savoy).