Allie Patch teaches us the importance of learning new things

Allie Patch has been playing trumpet as a member of the Calgary Stampede Showband since 2012. A linguistics major at the University of Calgary, she’s now the Showband’s brass captain, a member of leadership team, and teaches brass to junior high age students in the Calgary Round-Up Band. As a member of the Showband, she rehearses weekly and once a month on weekends for concert band performances and learning the Showband’s summer field show production. In addition to teaching and school work, this makes for a pretty busy schedule! On top of all this, Allie decided to learn color guard this year for the first time and joined Calgary’s prestigious Dynamic Winterguard.

“Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is immerse yourself in something completely different.”

In color guard, often referred to as the “sport of the arts”, performers use props and movement to tell a story with music. Most marching bands and drum corps have a color guard, but many groups perform on their own during the winter season as “winter guards”. Most color guard performers start early, learning and honing their skills in junior high and high school. Allie, an already accomplished musician and third year university student, decided to take up color guard this fall, “After playing so many kinds of instruments growing up, I wanted to try something new. Some things have come easier than others – hard rifle tosses are difficult – but it has been a really fun challenge.”

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Allie, performing with Dynamic Winterguard earlier this season.

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Showband Tour 2016: Midwest USA

What does the Calgary Stampede Showband do the week before the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth? They go on tour across the Midwestern United States of course! This summer, the Showband will travel to perform in Minnesota and Wisconsin from June 24 to July 5, 2016, coming back to Calgary just in time for the 10-day Calgary Stampede.

In 2015, the Showband won "Best in Show" at DCI's SoundSport competition in Indianapolis.

In 2015, the Showband won “Best in Show” at DCI’s SoundSport competition in Indianapolis.

Taking their unique brand of western hospitality and performance on the road, the Showband’s tour will include a stop at the Vikingland Band Festival in Alexandria, Minnesota. The Showband will perform in the Vikingland Band Festival parade (which features only marching bands!) and will perform its 2016 field production in exhibition at the what is considered the largest and most prestigious summer marching band competition in the Midwest. Continue reading

A Drum Major: More Than Just a Conductor

It’s not a secret that the marching arts provide exceptional learning experiences for youth. As one of North America’s fastest growing athletic activities, it challenges students physically, mentally, and creatively. There are a lot of reasons for students to join a marching band or drum corps, but the leadership skills that drum majors gain are truly second-to-none. As it turns out, there is a lot more to this role than just conducting the band and wearing a black cowboy hat!

1. They’re expert communicators

Elena Samoilova, who was the Showband’s head drum major in 2011 and 2012, is now the Showband’s Leadership Coach. She describes drum majors as the link between students and instructors. Drum majors learn exceptional communication skills by interacting with people at all levels, receiving directions from staff, constantly giving instructions to large groups, and occasionally speaking on behalf of the band for media.

According to Aaron Park, Director of Bands for the Calgary Stampede, it’s the things that aren’t said out loud that are especially important. “Drum majors develop non-verbal communication skills that help them to be approachable, build relationships with others, and intuitively understand what the group needs to do next to be successful. I trust Grace (the Showband’s current head drum major) to work with the members and get things done.”

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Elena Samilova entertaining crowds with her team at the Saddledome Steps in 2012.

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A Marching Band Tour by the Numbers

This month, the Calgary Stampede Showband took the Calgary Stampede’s western spirit and hospitality to fairs and festivals across North America including Red Deer Westerner Days, K Days in Edmonton, the Saskatoon Ex, and the Indiana State Fair. Along the way, the Showband entertained huge crowds, competed in international DrumLine Battle and SoundSport competitions, and learned by watching other elite performance ensembles in action at the Drum Corps International (DCI) Finals.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s involved with taking a marching band on tour:

119 talented and hardworking performers

19 tour staff and instructors

7 tour volunteers and chaperones

800 hours of rehearsal throughout the year

4 fairs and exhibitions

54 appearances and performances

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8 Periscope Accounts to Follow for #DCI2015

Most fans of the marching arts know that the 2015 drum corps season comes to a close next weekend at the Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships, which are going to be bigger than ever. There are a record number of 19 teams competing in SoundSport on Aug. 8, including several Canadian teams (our own Calgary Stampede Showband, the Diplomats (Ontario), and the McMaster Marching Band), two teams from China, and one from Taiwan! If you can’t make it to Indianapolis to see the drum and bugle corps, SoundSport, and DrumLine Battle teams in action, we’ve put together a list of Periscope accounts to follow for behind-the-scenes and in-front-of-the-action content from groups and individuals that will be there.

@ShowbandCS broadcasts rehearsals and performances live on Periscope.

The Calgary Stampede Showband, competing in SoundSport and DrumLine Battle competitions, broadcasts performances and rehearsals on Periscope.

Know of other groups and individuals that are broadcasting fantastic content about the marching arts and music education? Let us know in the comments!

1. Drum Corps International (@DCI)

This one goes without saying. The official Periscope of Marching Music’s Major League has been posting scores and other fantastic content all season long from their events across the United States. Continue reading

Showband Goes Big, Loud, and Live in Indianapolis

As part of its 2015 “Fairs and Festivals” tour, the Calgary Stampede Showband is travelling to Indianapolis next week. Hitting the road with western hospitality and catchy music straight from the Saddledome Steps, the Showband will compete in SoundSport and DrumLine Battle competitions, entertain crowds at the Indiana State Fair, and learn by watching world class drum corps in action. Announced this week, the Showband will also be performing its SoundSport set at the Drum Corps International (DCI) quarterfinals on Thursday, August 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium while the audience waits for the judges’ scores. This performance will be broadcast LIVE to theatres across the USA as part of DCI’s 12th annual “Big, Loud & Live” event which will be viewed by over 50,000 DCI fans in 600 theatres.

The Showband entertains crowds twice daily with a 45-minute set at the Saddledome Steps during the Calgary Stampede. Photo credit: Pat Johnston

The Showband entertains crowds twice daily with a 45-minute set at the Saddledome Steps during the Calgary Stampede. Photo credit: Pat Johnston

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2015 Aboriginal Awareness Family Day Festival and Pow Wow Competition

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The 2015 National Aboriginal Week festivities included an exciting full day of cultural exchange on Stampede Park. On Saturday, June 20, Indian Village hosted a family day Pow Wow. For First Nations peoples, the Pow Wow is a chance to connect with family and old friends, in addition to making new friends.

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The day began with a free pancake breakfast, followed by the grand entry and opening remarks, a pow wow, Métis jigging and hoop dancing. Former Grand National Chief Phil Fontaine, and the comedian Don Burnstick also spoke to the crowds. 

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Pictured: a buffalo float contribution to the 2015 Parade. The first Stampede Parade took place on September 2, 1912. It was lead by 1,800 Treaty 7 First Nations people in full regalia. Today, it’s one of the largest parades in North America, second only to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

 

 

 

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Pictured: Indian Princesses-in-training practicing their fancy dance moves.

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Calgary teens share why they love marching band

Members of the Calgary Stetson Show Band, a local marching performance ensemble for high school students,  shared the reasons why they love marching band in the video below as part of a local #JoinTheBand campaign. These, and other ways that marching band transforms lives can be seen on the Calgary Stampede Showband Instagram page and in this recent blog post.

We asked: “What is your favourite part about marching band?”

They answered:

“It’s one big family”

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Make your musical mark: 10 Reasons to Join a Marching Band

Tired of sitting on the sidelines? Looking for info on how to get involved with Calgary’s marching bands? You’re in luck, because several local ensembles are currently recruiting new members for the 2015/16 season:

For those who need some convincing, we’ve compiled our top 10 reasons to join a marching band! If you’re planning to audition for Showband, make sure you check out our awesome audition tips!

1. Amazing Performance Opportunities

Calgary’s marching bands get incredible opportunities to perform on the Saddledome Steps during Stampede week, at marching band competitions, at sporting events, in parades, and special concerts.

The Showband has also performed for Mayor Nenshi, Prime Minister Stephan Harper, and the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge Will and Kate. We’ve given a command performance at Buckingham Palace, been featured on the show, “Live with Kelly Ripa”, and performed on stage with Shania Twain and Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. These are all especially unique performance opportunities that would never be possible in a normal concert band setting.

In 2014, the Calgary Stampede Showband and Calgary Stetson Show Band traveled to Brazil to compete in the WASMB Championships.

In 2014, the Calgary Stampede Showband and Calgary Stetson Show Band traveled to Brazil to compete in the WASMB Championships.

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Marching Band Audition Tips from the Calgary Stampede Showband

So you want to join a marching band? Look no further! Showband members Colleen Kehler and Curtis Polowick and brass instructor Chris Bourne have put together five tips for musicians and prospective colour guard members looking to ace their upcoming Showband auditions!

1. Come prepared!

This includes being comfortable with the audition materials that have been made available online. Chris says that staff notice and appreciate when people have practiced a lot. Plus, if you are more prepared, your stress level will be lower because you will feel more confident that you are ready. olympic parade 3

 

 

2. Plan ahead

Wear appropriate shoes and clothes, eat a good meal before you go, and make sure you  get there in plenty of time to check-in and warm-up. Also, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and drink water the day of and the day before the audition. Continue reading

The Showband is taking the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” on the Road

This summer, the world famous Calgary Stampede Showband is taking a break from competition and hitting the road to entertain crowds across North America. After performing all-day, every day during Stampede 2015, the Showband’s summer 2015 “Fairs and Festivals Tour” will take the group (and the Calgary Stampede’s unique brand of western hospitality) to Westerner Days in Red Deer, K-Days in Edmonton, the Saskatoon EX, the Indiana State Fair, and Drum Corps International (DCI) Finals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The Showband performs for huge crowds on the Saddledome Steps twice each day during the Calgary Stampede.

The Showband performs for huge crowds on the Saddledome Steps twice each day during the Calgary Stampede.

Coming off of three consecutive world championship victories, the Showband is shifting gears and focusing on a broader audience. Performances in Red Deer, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Indiana will showcase the type of shows that are familiar to Calgarians, but not necessarily common among other marching arts groups in North America. If you’ve ever seen the Showband perform on the Saddledome steps, you know what we’re talking about. Audiences can expect to hear the Showband play its signature piece, “You Can Call Me Al” (by Paul Simon), hits like “Runaway Baby” (Bruno Mars), “Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson, feat. Bruno Mars), “Shake It Off” (Taylor Swift), and a Daft Punk mash-up, as well as music from its summer production, “The Edge”.

The Showband is known for it's highly engaging "stand-still" performances. The Saddledome Steps are definitely a crowd favorite!

The Showband is known for its highly engaging “stand-still” performances. The Saddledome Steps are definitely a crowd favorite!

 

 

 

The Showband will compete in DCI Drumline Battle and SoundSport events before DCI finals on Saturday, August 8 in downtown Indianapolis. The Drumline Battle will place the Showband’s drumline head to head against other drumlines from around the world. Soundsport is in its second season at DCI finals and is a competition for marching ensembles from all over the world.

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The Showband Announces its 2015 Production: The Edge

With a successful winter performance season winding down, the Calgary Stampede Showband is excited to announce its 2015 production titled, “The Edge”. For those who aren’t familiar with the marching arts, these productions are typically 10-12 minutes and tell a story through music, movement, and theatre – very different than what you typically see from marching bands in parades. These productions are part of how the Showband provides outstanding performance and educational opportunities for its members, which include brass and woodwinds players, percussionists, a colour guard, and dancers. Last year, the Showband won its fifth world championship in Brazil with its 2014 field show, “Aurora”.

The Showband performing "Aurora" during Showbands Live! at Hellard Field.

The Showband performing “Aurora” during Showbands Live! at Hellard Field.

Inspired by popular children’s literature, “The Edge” will depict the journey from reality to imagination. As a young girl travels down a city sidewalk, her mind wanders as she plays at the edge. Like any young child, she plays with objects in reality and builds a whole new world in her imagination; she’ll leave dreary city streets and be transported to a world filled with adventure, joy, and hope. The edge of the sidewalk represents that journey of the mind, that moment or place where we drift away into that world of imagination.

The Showband’s visual coordinator Jacqueline Meyler, who has previously worked with Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps from Atlanta, Georgia, and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, says it will be a very visually-driven production. As explained by Jacqueline, “the marching members are learning to remove themselves from their comfort zone, and will be learning creative choreography that will help depict the storyline. The idea is that the ensemble removes itself from ‘the status quo’ completely and transforms into a world of imagination”.

Music for the field show, arranged by Michael Klesch, will include “Frozen Cathedral” and “Xerxes” by John Mackey and “Plastic Satin” by Ryan George. Assistant Director Ryan Hancock reveals that “Xerxes” will represent one of the darkest moments of the show and that the band finally embraces hope and imagination during “Frozen Cathedral”.

The Showband won a world championship title with its 2012 production, "The Legend Continues".

The Showband won its 3rd world championship title with its 2012 production, “The Legend Continues”.

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People and accomplishments celebrated at the 2015 Calgary Stampede Annual General Meeting

The Calgary Stampede’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a time to conduct the business of the organization, elect directors and celebrate the achievements of the past year.

Last night, shareholders* gathered and voted in 11 directors (two new directors and nine incumbents).

2015 AGM

We said goodbye to retiring CEO Vern Kimball, outgoing president & chairman of the board, Bob Thompson, director, Jackie Engstrom, and appointed director, Allen Hagerman. We also welcomed incoming president, Bill Gray, vice-chair, Dave Sibbald, second vice-chair, Dana Peers, incoming CEO, Warren Connell, and two deserving recipients of the Stampede Life Member award, Mike Ross and Peter Valentine.

Pictured: Vice-chair, Dave Sibbald, president & chair of the board, Bill Gray, second vice-chair, Dana Peers

Pictured: Vice-chair, Dave Sibbald, president & chair of the board, Bill Gray, second vice-chair, Dana Peers

As we reflected on the events and programming of the last year—from completely recovering after the 2013 flood, to the launch of the Agrium Western Event Centre, to our plans to relocate Indian Village and develop ENMAX Park, SAM Centre and Youth Campus, it’s clear that the 2015 AGM was about celebrating how the Stampede is successfully becoming a year-round gathering place for the community.

The evening was an emotional one as the Stampede family bid farewell to retiring CEO, Kimball, who has poured his heart and soul into the company over the last 29 years. Thompson kicked off the night by assuring the audience that the meeting did not signify “a point of departure from our energy and enthusiasm that fueled us for a hundred years, but was instead a broadening of our purpose through the development of a year-round gathering place for all to enjoy.”

There was a lot to celebrate last night—our recent achievements due to the “the energized passion from thousands and thousands of volunteers stretching from 1912 to today”said Thompson. Thompson also shared that Stampede volunteers are the fabric of our distinct culture and that our passion and dedication for the Greatest Show on Earth, maintains the Stampede as a constant, even in the face of devastating floods and economic uncertainty.

In his remarks, Kimball shared his perspective on the last 10 years of Stampede history. He revisited the organization’s achievements under the six presidents he worked with during his time as CEO. Kimball then offered congratulations and endorsement to new leaders, Gray and Connell, noting them as the best candidates to lead our organization into the next chapter. He thanked the community, volunteers and employees for working continuously to exceed the both the world’s expectations and his own.

As the evening came to a close, one final surprise was dropped on the audience—literally. To the beat of 12 drummers and hundreds of falling balloons, the final capital campaign total was revealed: $131,236,580!

Pictured: Bob Thompson, Vern Kimball, Foundation board chair, Ann McCaig, and Foundation board vice-chair Steve Allan

Pictured: Bob Thompson, Vern Kimball, Foundation board chair, Ann McCaig, and Foundation board, We’re Greatest Together campaign co-chair Steve Snyder.

The campaign funding enables us to continue our work in becoming a year-round gathering place for the community through the upcoming development of Youth Campus, ENMAX Park and the completed Agriculture Discovery Zone with the year-old Agrium Western Event Centre. As Thompson said, “the moment the organization opens its big barn door, steps out and sees a new invigorated Stampede Park, a gathering place for youth, world-class facilities, unlike anything we have had in our past.”

Everyone left the AGM feeling nostalgic for how far we have come as an organization, proud of our most recent accomplishments together and hopeful for the future.

Kimball said it best, “the Stampede’s work is not done; it is just beginning.”

Pictured: Vern Kimball, retiring CEO

Pictured: Vern Kimball, retiring CEO

 
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*Becoming a Calgary Stampede shareholder:

After a minimum of four years as an active volunteer, volunteers are eligible to become a shareholder. The board approves all shareholder nominations; once approved the volunteer purchases a $5 share to become a shareholder of the Calgary Stampede. Shares do not grant dividends or appreciate, nor can they be sold. Shareholders who don’t attend the shareholder meeting by proxy or in person for three years in a row will lose their shareholder status. The Calgary Stampede has 1,963 shareholders.

35 years later, Sponsors are the true stars of the Stampede Talent Search.

As the Stampede Talent Search enters its 35th season, it’s impossible to reflect upon the history and transformation of this annual on-park event without a big “hats-off” to all of our sponsors.

Throughout the past three decades, significant evolution to the Talent Search show, format and set design have been enabled through generous donations and support from our sponsors. From technology to better showcase our performers, to equipment and musical instruments, the quality of contributions are a reflection of their commitment to our event.

New set design for the 2014 Stampede Talent Search.

New set design for the 2014 Stampede Talent Search. (Photo courtesy: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo)

Our performers directly benefit from sponsorship dollars as well. Sponsors have helped enable our Grand Prize award of $10,000 this year and finalists receive generous cash prizes. A professional recording session sets up our Champion with valuable studio experience, and a development package through the Calgary Stampede can often kick-start their careers. Even professional photography helps fulfill the committee’s mandate of developing young talent by providing an essential piece of their personal portfolio.

The Stampede Talent Search is becoming a well-known and reputable national talent event drawing young performers from across Canada. Whether they are participating in our first free audition training workshop this spring, or performing on our stage during the ten-days of the Calgary Stampede, our young talent is able to experience a state-of-the art production and we couldn’t be more proud to associate with these fine sponsors.

 

Lead Sponsors:

CTV

Lammles

PSAV Presentation Services

The Calgary Stampede

 

 

Michael Lipnicki Fine Pianos

Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

Bestway TV and Appliances

The Station Recording Company

Long & McQuade Musical Instruments

Hopewell Development Corporation

Global Experience Specialists

 

“Our sponsors are proud to be part of discovering and developing young talent,” says Vicki Kranenburg, volunteer lead of the Stampede Talent Search Sponsorship committee. “Over our 35 years, we have discovered major talent, internationally-acclaimed country recording star, Paul Brandt, being just one to note. Sponsors have been strong supporters of our event, and, through their generous contributions, have created an opportunity for all our performers to be their best.”

 A free audition training workshop for all potential contestants is being held Saturday, March 7th at Lord Beaverbrook High School. Young performers between ages 6 and 21 are invited to visit StampedeTalentSearch.com for details and registration information.