Peter Voisey wraps up his first year as the new conductor of the Barrie Concert Band with a program that speaks to his roots. “The Classics” concert will feature music by well-known composers such as Dvorak, Handel, and Brahms, along with well-established contemporary classic composers such as Leroy Anderson (Blue Tango) and original marches.

“It’s repertoire that has been done by Barrie Concert Band (BCB) but not lately -the actual classical repertoire gets the second seat with the bulk of pops concerts,” said Voisey, adding that the music is technically difficult and creates more of a challenge for the musicians.

In addition to the June 2 concert, the BCB is preparing for summer programs which will focus on popular music such as Andrew Lloyd Webber. The BCB performs throughout the year at local retirement homes as well summertime concerts at Orillia and Midland that feature light rock, pop, movie and show tunes.

The regular season is two ticketed concerts – at Christmastime and in the spring. Next year, in honour of the BCB’s 150th anniversary, it will expand to three.

The band includes 55 musicians ranging in age from teenage students to seniors. George Cairns, a trumpet player, has been in the band the longest – 65 years.

“We have several who have been in over 40-50 years,” said Voisey. “When people join it’s something they do for life. It’s something they love and keep doing.”

Voisey is a professional musician and multi-instrumentalist who plays English horn, saxophone, flute and clarinet, among others, but the oboe is his main instrument. He has performed with numerous Canadian orchestras and is part of the professional core of the Huronia Symphony. He is also a seasoned performer of musical theatre and is currently in his second season with the Stratford Festival Orchestra in The Music Man. He was first attracted to musical theatre when he was a student back in the mid-90s.

In between, he teaches privately, a variety of ages, and draws students from all over Simcoe County and beyond.

Voisey moved from Toronto 11 years ago to settle in Orillia, in part, because he enjoys boating.  He is married to professional violinist Valerie Selander.

Throughout his life, Voisey has played with bands off and on – community as well as professional and it’s always been in the back of his mind to direct one. When the band adjudicated four conductors, Voisey won the position and marked his first time at the helm with a “Veteran’s Concert” of mostly military music last fall.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. on June 2 at Hi-Way Pentecostal Church, 50 Anne St. N. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, free for children under the age of five, and are available through or at the door.

Photo credit: Rod McLeod


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