Being asked to lead any band is an honour — and getting invited to conduct one with three decades of history on Salt Spring? Ben McConchie practically leapt from his chair on South Pender.
The call came from Bandemonium Music Society co-founder Derrick Milton, said McConchie. And he jumped.
“To be able to conduct Bandemonium?” said McConchie, laughing. “I was like, yes! I’ll take the ferries, I’ll take the boat, I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen.”
That was back in January; this coming Sunday, McConchie debuts as musical director for the Bandemonium Concert Band at a Fulford Hall performance titled From Bach to the Beatles: a Magical Mystery Tour of History’s Greatest Hits. It’s an accessible program, he said, with selections even casual music lovers may find familiar.
“We’re playing Bach, we’re playing a Mozart concerto,” said McConchie. “We’re playing some West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. We’re doing a chronological retrospective — where we were, where we are, where we’re going — over 400 years of orchestral music.”
From Bach to the Beatles also showcases the high level of musicianship that powers Bandemonium. And for a non-audition band — anyone is welcome — there’s a lot of talent packed in.
“I’ve had to do my homework and improve as a conductor, you know — get my chops together,” he chuckled. “I mean there are some incredible professional musicians there. But everyone is super chill, and funny — we’ve spent a lot of rehearsal time laughing.”
Sunday’s show begins at 2 p.m. Advance tickets are available at Mondo Trading in Ganges or can be purchased at the door.