High turnout for Roland Band Workshop

22nd annual Roland Community Band Workshop. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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The 22nd annual Roland Community Band Workshop took place March 16 at Roland United Church and organizers were pleased to see the highest turnout yet.
This year 58 musicians from across the province came to take part.
“It’s just a wonderful opportunity,” Lori Neufeld, who organizes and participates in the event along with her husband Tom, said. “Most of these people might be in small towns and have a small little band somewhere or don’t even have an opportunity to play in a band.”
The experience they get at this event, which runs from morning to a concert at night, is unique.
“Here they can play with a full section of their instrument which is nearly unheard of,” she said.
Lori added that even the band she plays in, the Prairie Redcoats out of Miami, has 25 members, and is one of the biggest in southern Manitoba.
This day long reading session was under the direction of Bernard Helfter of Holland, MB, and Tom explained nobody knows what they will play until they get there.
“This workshop is called a reading workshop,” he said. “The whole point is to read all kinds of different music and then we just pick something for the evening.”
Less than 12 hours after they begin, the band played their new music in the finale concert.
Tom said word of mouth and a good reputation has helped fill seats in the band.
“We have a great director with Bernard Helfter,” he said. “A lot of the country bands across the province, as far as Thompson, have heard about (the event), learned about it, come and enjoyed it and come back…”
Lori said the Prairie Redcoat Band are also instrumental in organizing the event, for which they also rely on many volunteers.
“It’s a small town,” she said. “You have to count on a lot of different groups to help you out.”
Tom said they have great support from the community of Roland, businesses, the United Church and the people.
“There’s just so much support,” he said. “It’s a fantastic day for us as musicians… the end result of this day is we put on this concert.”

22nd annual Roland Community Band Workshop. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

22nd annual Roland Community Band Workshop. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

22nd annual Roland Community Band Workshop. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

22nd annual Roland Community Band Workshop. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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