The Red Deer Royals rehearse at St. Joseph’s High School’s Kinsmen Field House. (File photo by Advocate staff)

The Red Deer Royals rehearse at St. Joseph’s High School’s Kinsmen Field House. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Red Deer Royals begin season next week

The Red Deer Royals are set to bring its music back to central Alberta.

The concert and marching show band will start its 53rd season with its first rehearsal this Wednesday, after the COVID-19 pandemic derailed much of last two seasons.

“We’re really excited to get back to making music again. It’s been a long time coming,” said Michael Mann, director of bands.

“The kids are excited, the staff is excited, I’m excited, the parents are excited. Everyone’s ready to get back to normal.”

Mann said he hopes the provincial government’s recent announcement regarding COVID-19 restrictions won’t impact the band.

READ MORE: Alberta announces temporary COVID-19 measures

“We’ve got all of the safety precautions in place. We’re hoping we’ll be able to participate in all of our traditional performances coming up, around Remembrance Day, Christmas and the New Year,” he said.

The Royals were only able to play together seven times last season, Mann noted.

“It’s tough, especially with newer members coming in. We’ve now had two years in a row where our members haven’t marched in a parade or done a field show. Third year’s the charm we hope in terms of doing all of these events again,” he said.

“Last year we thought we’d be able to get things started up in October. We ran four full rehearsals and then the province shut down in November. Then we put everything on hold. We put a pause on the entire program – the Royals and the adult bands.”

The Royals were able to get together in June for a few rehearsals and a performance for parents and families before calling it a season.

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Mann said the Royals are unlike any other band in the region.

“We bring in students from across 20-25 schools in central Alberta, from a variety of different band programs and experiences. They get to come together to share and create something that’s really unique to central Alberta,” he said.

“The marching band with the colour guard, it’s not something that happens much in this area. We’re the only group in central Alberta – there are a couple of groups in Edmonton and Calgary. But it’s pretty much an anomaly in Canada. There aren’t many marching groups like this,” he said.

The Royals will be hosting an information night at the Kinsmen Fieldhouse in St. Joseph’s High School Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. Anyone between 12 and 21 interested in joining the Royals is encouraged to attend.

The Red Deer Community Band Society’s adult bands will begin their season Sept. 20, Mann added.

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