In 1993, a group of Cape Bretoners—representing diverse careers and musical backgrounds—dusted off their band instruments and started getting together to make music. Over the years, Second Wind Community Band grew into a beautiful instrumental ensemble that has developed a diverse repertoire ranging from classical to pop and folk. Many musical experiences followed for their members, and the audiences who have watched them mature musically during the decades since.
Playing at a variety of events and concerts throughout the year, the band supports two very special groups. They do a concert around the spring equinox in March, which is Music Therapy month, in support of the Music Therapy Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton County. Their winter solstice concert supports Every Woman’s Centre, as well as the Light Up a Life Campaign for Feed Nova Scotia and food banks, with CBC Radio One in Cape Breton.
Second Wind Community Concert Band will resume weekly rehearsals on Wednesday, September 6th in preparation for their 31st season, which will kick off October 20-22 with their annual Cape Breton Community BandFest weekend in Sydney.
Since 1998, Second Wind has sponsored BandFest for the benefit of all Maritime community band members and bands. Members from Halifax, Truro, Annapolis Royal, Glace Bay, Donkin, P.E.I., and New Brunswick have attended with some very special conductors and clinicians. The band hosts the workshop-style weekend that ends with a finale concert. There are levels for experienced players and for novice players with at least a year’s experience on their instrument. If you’re a seasoned player and haven’t played for some time, the BandFest weekend is a great way to get back to playing. If you’re presently playing, you can contact the Artistic Team of Michele Xidos, Margaret Miles, and Laura Mercer.
The band has various levels of talent and experience, from first time players to lapsed players who had musical training as children, to experienced performers, music educators, members of the Cape Breton Orchestra, and even a couple of professional musicians. Whatever the level or reason for joining, the band has become a closely knit and dedicated group, where rehearsals are considered an enjoyable social outing as well as a worthwhile musical learning experience.
"The Second Wind is a second chance for getting back into playing, if time has lapsed since you last played your instrument, or to get back to taking some lessons to hone your skills," says Laura Mercer, a founding conductor of the band. "It makes us take time for ourselves out of our hectic schedules to sit down on a regular basis, pick up our instruments and practice. Second Wind learned early in our development from a great bandsman from Nova Scotia, Mr. Ron MacKay, that 'Music for Life' is a big part of our mandate. Come out and join us if you can!"
“Music for Life” and “Community Helping Community” are the two mottos that guide the Second Wind Community Concert Band. The commitment to the group, along with the joy of making music at both rehearsals and performances, is the glue that binds this special community group.
For more information search for Second Wind Community Band on FB or visit secondwindcommunityband.com.