Thanks from the Town of Ajax

On behalf of Mayor Parish, Ajax Council, the Pan Am Ajax Local Host Committee, staff and volunteers at the Town of Ajax, I wanted to thank you and the Band for the part you played in, what turned out to be, a spectacular Pan Am Ajax Torch Relay event.

 It was an amazing day in Ajax on Saturday, June 6th with a route that travelled throughout our community, celebrating our history and commemorating our 60th anniversary, with a fantastic morning launch, 6 stops and 2 major celebration sites.  Approximately 5000 people cheered the torch and the torchbearers on at celebrations and along the route – approximately 500 of which were at Pickering High alone for the launch event!

 Working with other event organizers from TO2015 did have some challenges associated with it and I know the band didn’t play for as long as we had hoped, but your involvement and the support you provided for the event were greatly appreciated and we hope the Band members feel they were part of a great launch event.

 Thanks again.

 Sincerely,

 Robert Gruber

Manager, Community & Cultural Development

Town of Ajax

Recreation & Culture

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"The following reviews, by John Arkelian, can be found by going to artsforum.ca"

"Artsforum reviews copyright © 2015 by John Arkelian"


The Pickering Community Concert Band, under Music Director Doug Manning, never fails to wow its audience.  They did so again in their two concerts this season.  Their April 2015 program was entitled “Music from Around the World,” and that’s exactly what it delivered.  Pride of place went to “Sensei’s Ride on the Cherry Blossom Express,” an atmospheric piece that very nicely evoked a steam-train traveling through the Japanese countryside.  Another highlight was “Kraftwerk,” German music by a Dutch composer, which effectively combined dramatic, majestic, and martial elements.  A medley from “Slumdog Millionaire” transported us to India; while the very English selections from “Downton Abbey” (arranged by the band’s own John Watkins) convinced us that we were truly to the manor born.  “Jamaican Sailaway” was lively fun, and band saxophonist Kristie Hunter conducted the debut of her own dramatic composition “Fanfare and Celebration.”  Ms. Hunter further demonstrated her versatility elsewhere in the program, essaying the vocals for the band’s lovely rendition of “Loch Lomond,” a traditional Scottish melody arranged by band member Sean Breen.  Things came to an infectiously upbeat close with “Copacabana,” which inspired some visiting red-hatters to start a conga-line in the aisles.  The band’s guests for the concert were Bevin Wellwood, who did the vocals in a Gershwin medley, and the St. Andrew’s Ajax Choir, whose big stand-out was the instantly familiar and poignant duet “The Prayer.”  (The choir’s rendition of “Every Day is a Gift from the Lord” had a very nice flute section.)  If the music weren’t enough of a pleasure, the Pickering Community Concert Band always treats its audience to a generous selection of door-prizes and free snacks.  Talk about a class act!

The band’s Christmas concert in December 2014 got off to a perfect start with a medley of favorite carols called “Celebrate Christmas.”  Other highlights were in abundant supply – starting with an exception to the seasonal repertoire:  The Latin tunes in “Mambo Greats” were a marvelous showcase of the band’s abilities, featuring a strong dramatic section.  The band’s own Sean Breen conducted his own arrangement of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing:”  Actually a medley going by the name of one of its component parts, it was a majestic rendition by the band.  Other medleys – “Merry Christmas, Everyone” and “Christmas Variants” – weren’t far behind.  And a ‘Bari Sax Trio,’ consisting of just three musicians (Sean Breen, Kristie Hunter, and David Liscomb), yielded an intriguingly different sound with their version of “We Wish You a Bari Christmas!”  The band’s guest for this concert was singer Marsala Lukianchuk, who added a jazzy touch to her vocals.

The Pickering Community Concert Band was Snapd during their Spring Concert.