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Lethbridge Community Gold band remembers founder with concert

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The Lethbridge Community Gold band is remembering their founder and good friend Robert Cook by playing a The Lethbridge Community Gold band remembers Bob Cook with a special concert, Nov. 13. Photo by Randy Neufeld Photographicsspecial  tribute concert  to him featuring all of his favourite pieces, Nov. 13 at the College Drive Community Church.
Cook, who played clarinet and conducted the band, passed away in August. He  began the band in 1987 with the goal of “ creating not only a band, but an excellent concert ensemble,” which was achieved six years later when  they performed at  a western music festival in Red Deer with 170 other bands  from western Canada and the northwestern United States, and took all five of the top honours.

“I don’t have a specific memory of him. I remember how he made me feel. You weren’t just part of the band, you were a friend,” said bass clarinetist  Jo Ann Whitehead adding the almost two hour long concert will include some of Cook’s favourite pieces of music, chosen with care by his widow Beth and conductor Ken Rogers, include “Incantation and Dance, ” “Liberty” Fair and ”A Trumpeter’s Lullaby,” to name a few. There will be a reception following the concert.

  The LCI Singers will be the special guests at the concert, which will be directed by Karen Hudson and feature pianist Barbara Hignell.

“It’s just basically a tribute to him because after he conducted us for 10 years, we  felt we’d like to honour him,” she continued.
“There were 16 founding members and some of them still play with us,” she continued  adding she has a lot of fond memories of Bob Cook. Cook was known for  his organizational skills and insistence on structure, progress and vision. Because of his hard work,  the band has had several superb conductors and guest collaborations with  Allan Vizzutti and international trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann as well as  the late John Griffiths, the Mantini Sisters and howard Cable, plus many commissions and premieres of new works.

“He was very intelligent, very inspiring and quite perceptive,” she continued.
“Hopefully he’ll  be looking down on us and sitting in the front row,” she continued adding the  Gold band as well as the silver band, consisting of performers with  a little less experience, rehearse every week at Catholic Central High School and often play with the school’s Jr. High and  Senior High  bands, at the school because   former conductor Don Robb  works there.

 The non-profit band is a  group of community members of all ages and walks of life who get together and play music for the sheer joy of it.
“It will be a wonderful evening. I don’t think he had any enemies. Everybody loved the man. So we want to do something special for him,” she continued.

 They play a variety of community events like Canada Day celebrations and have an annual spring concert. They also play Christmas music at the annual mayor’s concert, which takes place on Dec. 11 this year  at the Southminster United Church.
Tickets to Robert M. Cook: A Concert in Tribute cost $15  and are available at  Gentlemen III, Long and McQuade and the University of Lethbridge. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
A version of this story also appears in the Nov. 10 version of the Lethbridge Sun Times
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