Power of music

By Sandra L. Brown

January 25, 2018 3:50 PM

It’s easy to list the top five of our ever-changing favourite songs; however it’s more challenging for us to name one song that changed our life or influenced it in some way.
Music starts a conversation, making a connection between the singer and audience. 
Could you imagine watching a movie without the music playing?  Listening to the steady crescendo of music builds up the emotion in each moving scene and adds to our enjoyment. 
Life is not silent and neither is Lloydminster’s history.
A wide range of musical instruments and talents accompanied the Barr Colonists on their trek in 1903. 
Their first concert rang in the New Year along with background sounds supplied by coyotes howling in the distance.  Lit by coal oil lamps and heated by wood burning stoves, the marquee tent provided by the government was warm with memories of England. 
They may have felt isolated on the cold barren prairie but music continued to bring them together. 
A few short years later, a local band was founded by Joseph Fairbrother and played at many community functions. 
From this the Lloydminster Citizen’s Band eventually developed. This band also played the role of the Regimental Band for the Saskatchewan Light Horse whose training camp was north of town. 
They continued playing together until 1953 at which time the local Lions Club provided finances for a Community Band led by Bob Bourassa and his trusty baton. 
By the late 1960s, the public schools had an active band program which presently continues and teaches high standards of music to students.
Entertainers performed in Lloydminster from its early beginnings leaving a musical legacy for generations to grow. 
Music was at the very heart of the Barr Colony providing comfort with its tradition. The prairie air may have been crisp with the relentless cold, but music made their troubles fade away reminiscent of a dense morning fog from their homeland. 
They made every effort to keep their British traditions alive and replicate this life on the barren western prairie.
Stopping en route between Saskatoon and Edmonton, a travelling opera company captivated a large crowd while performing in Lloydminster.  Local churches sponsored various singers and even the infamous Philharmonic Concert group from New York performed before large audiences.  A small orchestra formed in 1915. 
Instruments included cornet, violin, cello, trombone, flute, clarinet, piano and drums.  One of the musicians was said to have walked seventeen miles with his violin, music and music stand to attend practice. 
He soon obtained a job in Lloydminster so he could continue to play in the orchestra.
In 1917 the first Chautauqua festival was held for a week with performances for adults and children. 
This travelling show had its American roots on Chautauqua Lake, New York and Canadian roots through the Methodist Temperance rallies.  Performers shared education, entertainment and inspiration across the network of North America tent circuits. 
To many folks it widened their horizons and provided yet another cultural experience. 
Held annually for many years it was always a huge success with churches and other groups supporting this community event.
The first Lloydminster Music Festival dates back to 1931 with W. H. Mitchell as president.  Due to the effects of the Depression, it only lasted until 1935. 
This committee worked relentlessly to produce these festivals but had to abandon their plans due to a lack of finances and support. 
It saw a rebirth in 1963 after receiving support from the region.  I would be remiss not to mention the influences of the Lloydminster Allied Arts Council (1975) that were very active in the performing arts.  Hosting many well-known performers they were a fundamental element in growing arts and culture in Lloydminster.
There is a timeless interval between the present and the past bringing with it the pure textured power of music.  Music has a raw and irresistible pull making our heart full again; providing a fortress of solitude drawing us near with its uplifting tempo or haunting melody. 
With its ever-changing dynamics and harmony, life is simply more remarkable when accompanied by music. 
So the next time a song “rocks your world,” take a step back and really listen to what the lyrics are saying.  It’ll be a breathtaking moment!

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