Musicians ranging from teens to 90-year-olds form unique band in Nanaimo


A troupe of musicians that started as strangers from all over the mid-Island is making both music and friendship.

“It’s a nice mixture of all ages and abilities and everybody’s just really kind and lovely to hang out with,” musician Madeleine Bray said.

“It’s the nicest people and the nicest band,” said musician Anne Martin.

Together, the musicians are the Mid Island Community Bands. They were originally founded in 1986 and clearly still going strong.

The musicians come from every age and background that you can imagine, from a retired mortician to a 16-year-old French horn player.

“I wanted to check it out,” said 16-year-old Joel Chavez.

“See what’s up and it’s great so far.”

“It’s a real community,” said musician Al Restall.

“We’re a real community here.”

Their only requirement to belong is that you love music.

“It’s really neat,” said conductor Jill Mont.

“That if you are 40, 50, 60 or 70 you can walk in this room and walk away knowing a little bit more about music and enjoying the journey.”

The band practices weekly in Nanaimo and then plays across the region all year long, delivering music to those who need it. Their events include fundraisers, care homes, and public performances to brighten everyone’s day.

“As a service thing, we will perform for people just to get them dancing, ” said Mont.

“To get them enjoying music, we will go play in the park,” she said.

Longtime member Laara Dalen says she’s come to live for this.

“Well all I do is play music,” said Dalen.

“And then sleep so I can play music.”

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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