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Orangeville Community Band perform a Thank You in Harmony Concert

October 20, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

“The Concert was excellent,” said Peter Gardhouse, President of the Orangeville Community Band (OCB). “We were pleased with how we performed; the food bank bin was filled to overflowing and we’re very thankful to get together again.” 

He was referring to the Thank You in Harmony concert the band performed last Saturday, Oct. 15 at the New Hope Community Church. It was the community band’s way of expressing their appreciation for recently receiving a $43,600 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and moving into the band’s new home at the New Hope Community Church (Salvation Army), for performance, rehearsals and to store the larger instruments purchased with the grant money.

Mr. Gardhouse continued, “The turn out for the concert was very good. We invited Sylvia Jones and she attended because Trillium is provincial.”

This Trillium Grant was offered to resilient communities’ organizations in Ontario to fund specifically for recovering from Covid. The OCB was able to apply for it and received a generous grant. Most importantly, they had lost their rehearsal space which was in a high school and the use of the school’s percussion instruments during the shut-downs of the pandemic.

“For a while it was a question about how we can continue,” Mr. Gardhouse reported. Once the grant came through, “We were able to purchase large percussion instruments. It was so nice to be able to roll them from storage practice room.”

The OCB also received $1,000 from the Dufferin Community Grant Program to purchase new sheet music.

“This grant [from OTF] will allow the band to continue to produce quality uplifting music,” said Joy Spencer, who is the Musical Director of the OCB in a media release.

During the summer months of 20/21, they rehearsed when allowed to by Covid protocols, in a barn and had to do without the percussion instruments from the school, as at that point they did not have ownership of many instruments. 

Music was their connection with the Salvation Army, remembering the days of the church’s bands marching through the streets of towns.

‘They acknowledged their own history of bands and marching bands,” said Mr. Gardhouse. “They have provided us with a fairly large space. Otherwise, band members have their own carry instruments.”

The purchases included some of the largest pieces: tiffany drums were a major purchase; Tubular bells are very large cylinders for which there is now storage for their attachments and peripheral equipment.

The funding has allowed purchasing training methods for new musicians, to be in beginner bands for students; OCB can purchase online training too. Beginner band members have to find their own instruments and can come to OCB on their usual Thursday evening rehearsal, earlier than the usual rehearsal time. Not all beginners are students. It should be noted that adults also wanting to learn to play an instrument are welcome.

Programming for OCB is fairly eclectic and depends on the timing of the concert.

Remembrance Day comes with marching music as a first set. Christian and Christmas music marks the Yuletide.

“The Christmas concert was always was the biggest turn out and the most enthusiastic,” Peter Gardhouse commented.

The concert last Saturday, while being thankful for the Trillium Grant and to thank New Hope Community Church for offering the band the space was also to thank health care workers, those working during the pandemic and the police. 

The concert featured Heal, a suite of songs, a tremendous salute.

OCB was established in 2009 by John Wervers, who made the connection between the band and BookLore, the one distributor of tickets for OCB concerts. Like Mr. Wervers, Stan Elliotson was instrumental in the band’s formation.

“I used to take music lessons from Stan Elliotson’s eldest son as well as Stan and they were certainly the reason I was involved with music. They did such a good job of establishing the band and finding musicians,” said Mr. Gardhouse. “My wife and I joined the band 2019.”

Music is the great equalizer and typically of bands and orchestras, people of all ages belong to OCB. The eldest is in his 90’s and the youngest are in their teens. The band enjoys playing for seniors’ homes and have played outside them during Covid, which everyone really enjoyed.

He remarked, “The last concert of our season is Blues and Jazz. One of our saxes can even stand up and play.”

Peter and his wife, Maryann live on the farm his grandfather settled near Marsville in the 1960’s. Having gone to university and lived other lives, both he and his older brother have chosen variously to return to the unique opportunity of living where they love to be, saying that they feel “very fortunate” to be there.

Maryann Gardhouse is the publicity director for OCB and Mr. Gardhouse told the Citizen, “As a couple, it is helpful just having two people who can help. The band is an excellent registered charity. It’s important to be properly maintained, dotting the i’s and we’re happy to do so.”

They are looking forward to their upcoming Christmas concert but commenting, “As we head into the winter season, we will follow public health mandates re masks and so forth. So far, it’s hard to resist greeting people [by shaking hands] and so far, for the most part there haven’t been any issues.”

Peter Gardhouse considers that it really is a privilege to play in the band. This is a group of people who are coming together to produce in a unified thing that’s an extremely good influence on people, that are able to work together in many different ways. Being able to do this is extremely important for all of them.

New Hope Community Church is located at 690 Riddell Road

For more information on upcoming events or how you can become a donor or band member, please visit their website:

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