By Kristin Gardiner
SUMMERSIDE - Three Oaks’ first ever R&B band performs at École-Sur-Mer on Friday, May 16, at 7 p.m., as a fundraiser for the Three Oaks band program.
© Kristin Gardiner
Members of the R&B Band are (front, from left) Melissa MacKay, Jillian Russell, Marissa Hashie, Alex Casey, (back) Brohan Brennan, Jacob Gallant, Keirsten Perry, Taylor Poirier, Blaire Guptill, Mitch Frasier, Curtis MacNevin, Shane Arsenault, Zack Doucette, and Marc DesRoches. Missing from photo, Brooke MacArthur.
The band has 10 songs prepared, by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and The Supremes. It includes a full horn section, a full rhythm section, and lead and backup vocalists, all of whom auditioned to be in the band.
“It’s great to have an outlet to play instruments other than what we have featured in the concert band,” says Alex Casey, member of the R&B band.
Mitch Frasier, another member, agrees. “It’s always nice to play to a different beat,” he says. “And it’s really nice to play with a bunch of other high-calibre musicians.”
The band was created just this year by co-directors Krista Bryson, music teacher at Three Oaks, and Carrie MacLellan, music teacher at Miscouche Consolidated. The band’s debut performance was at the Three Oaks Band Christmas concert. Since then, they have worked hard to build up their repertoire for this concert.
Bryson started the group because she wanted to build community connections and draw the public into the music program at Three Oaks. She also noticed how talented the students were, especially with popular music, and wanted to showcase these musical abilities.
“Back at Miscouche, we didn’t have anything like this, so it was nice to experience a different genre of music than what we were doing in school,” says Melissa MacKay, one of the band’s vocalists. “And to do it with all of your classmates who work just as hard as you makes it that much more fun.
Although the R&B band is the headlining act, it won’t be the only performance of the evening. Some singer/songwriters in the Three Oaks concert band will also be performing, whether as a solo act, duet, or a small group.
“It’s always fun to come for a whole night of dancing to classic tunes by artists such as Stevie Wonder and Wilson Pickett,” says Casey.
“It’s definitely a lot different than your average band concert,” adds Frasier.
The venue holds 300 people, and Bryson wants to see a crowd to fill the space. Tickets for the performance cost $10 and can be purchased from Bryson at Three Oaks school until Wednesday, May 14. They will also be available at the door on the night of the performance.