The Chemainus Community Band during June’s Legion Week festivities in the Legion Hall. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Band instrumental in success of Chemainus community events

Chemainus Community Band’s existence tied to former teacher’s love affair for band

You’ve seen them at Legion Week, Canada Day, Remembrance Day, Chemainus Little Town Christmas, Breakfast With Santa at Chemainus Elementary School and other events.

The Chemainus Community Band has been a nice addition to different functions around town. It all started after long-time Chemainus Secondary School teacher Verla Blogg wanted to fill that void in her life from no longer teaching band.

“After I retired, I kind of missed that part of it,” she conceded.

Blogg was at the high school for 35 years from September of 1978 to 2014, teaching Social Studies 10 and band. She started the Chemainus Community Band in 2015.

“The Legion was trying to encourage me to do it,” Blogg noted. “They kind of sponsor us in a way. They give us free rehearsal space.”

The band rehearses throughout the year on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at the Legion Hall, taking only the month of August off.

Blogg, whose own musical playing background is mainly in sax, clarinet and flute, directs a band that contains every conceivable instrument and produces a great collective sound.

Members of the group vary from a 14-year-old girl playing the flute to an 85-year-old.

“It’s good for young kids to see, seniors aren’t really all that bad,” quipped Blogg.

There are currently about 25 members in the group, expanding to as large as 3o at times.

“In the summer, I’ve got a little more,” Blogg explained. “I’ve got the college students coming back for the summer.”

Newcomers are always welcome.

“If you once played in a band, you’re welcome to rehearsals,” Blogg said.

“I had one guy, 35 years he hadn’t played. After a couple of weeks, he was pretty good. It takes a while, but you can do it.”

Blogg can be contacted at 250-245-7734. She encourages people to also check out the group’s Facebook page under Chemainus Community Band.

You never know where you’ll see them next. The band even played during last year’s opening ceremony at the Chemainus Ball Park for the Cuba baseball exchange.

Blogg’s extensive background ensures she’s often directing both parents and their kids whom she taught in high school. With Blogg teaching band and Irene King drama, Chemainus Secondary had one of the most established arts programs of any school in the region.

However, cutbacks to programs often created frustrations for both of them. Blogg finds it a rewarding experience to still be directing a band and contributing to the enjoyment of the community.

 

Verla Blogg directs the Chemainus Community Band. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chemainus Community Band, above, at the opening ceremony during last year’s Cuban baseball exchange at the Chemainus Ball Park. Right, Verla Blogg directs the band during Legion Week festivities at the Chemainus Legion Hall. (Photos by Don Bodger)

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