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Honour bands, community rally for hope through song

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind ensembles. On May 9, LRSD’s junior and senior honour bands put on a charity concert to help CancerCare Manitoba answer the call to battle cancer at every level. 

The concert, titled Song of Hope, took place in the Dakota Collegiate gymnasium where about 600 people huddled in to listen to the two divisional wind ensembles put on a show. 

“It was outstanding. The kids played brilliantly, and it was super moving,” honour band leader Darren Ritchie said. “The atmosphere was great.”

Ritchie said it was particularly wonderful to see how quickly and well the band students adapted to the situation.

“You get kids from all over the division, and they come together for this. They get only two rehearsals and a dress rehearsal,” Ritchie said.

Honour band students perform at the Song of Hope fundraiser for CancerCare Manitoba.Honour band students perform at the Song of Hope fundraiser for CancerCare Manitoba. 

The junior honour band played three songs including a theme song from video game Kingdom Hearts, a game that featured a collaboration of characters from Square Enix video games and Disney and Pixar films. 

In keeping with the theme, the senior honour band topped their performance with selections from Pixar’s Up.  

That alone might have been enough to send the audience floating off to Paradise Falls, but the evening finished with one more song, as the two bands joined to play the titular Song of Hope.

That song had been used to top off world-renowned fundraiser Cancer Blows, originally held in Dallas, Texas. The song was written by Winnipeg-based Peter Meechan, who showed up at Dakota Collegiate to speak with the crowed and to listen to the students cap the evening with his composition. 

“It was so neat to see everyone come together,” Ritchie said. 

This was the first Song of Hope concert, and Ritchie said he hopes to put on the fundraiser concert annually.