Q: Why a youth band? 

ANS:   We (the members of the Skyliners Big Band) love playing Big Band Music and want it to be an ongoing pastime for the residents of Barrie. In order to ensure that this happens, we want to create an appreciation of Big Band music among our younger community members and provide ongoing opportunities for them to perform outside of the school environment.

Q: Who can join the band? 

ANS: The band is typically open to musicians under the age of 20. Age exceptions can be made depending on the situation. We are interested in people who play trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, guitar, bass and drums. Special cases can and will be made for Clarinet, Flute, and French Horn players depending on ability. We have even had a violin and a cello in the past! 

Q: I have never played in a big band. Should I still try out? 

ANS: Absolutely. If you can play your instrument, are prepared to practice, and are willing to learn, please try out! 

Q: I have never improvised. Will I be forced to ad lib? 

ANS: Not if you really do not wish too. However improvisation is an integral part of big band music and all are encouraged to solo during rehearsals. The Musical Director will help guide you by providing you with the musical knowledge needed to overcome obstacles. You are encouraged to challenge yourself! 

Q: When are the tryouts? 

ANS: Try outs can happen throughout the year. Contact the Musical Director for more information. Be sure to tell us a bit about yourself. Do you take private lessons? How long have you been playing? What instrument(s) do you play? Who is you favourite musician? Contact the musical director through email at: info@skylinersbigband.com.

Q: When does the band start rehearsing? 

ANS: Rehearsals for the band typically begin in September and carry on through the school year. We try to avoid your exam weeks and work around your school activities. 

Q: When and where are rehearsals? 

ANS: Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 pm in the Barrie North Collegiate music room. Contact us for more specific information.

Q: Is there a cost? 

ANS: Because there are expenses involved in running any band, there may be a band fee charge. We have had great support from the City of Barrie and corporate sponsorships that have made it a no cost program throughout our history except for one year. Any funds requested were used to defray the costs of rehearsal space, music and other expenses related to the running of the band. We anticipate no band fees for the current school year. 

Q: What should I practice to prepare? 

ANS: Learn as many scales and related arpeggios as possible. Work on your sight reading skills. Practice soloing on your instrument. If you have any of the Jamey Aebersold books, the iReal Pro app , Garage Band, or any other play-a-long programs use them to help. Usually the tryout will involve coming a little early to a rehearsal so the musical director can hear you on your instrument. You may be invited to sit in that evening! Listen to the classic big band recordings of Count Basie, Woody Herman and many others.

Q: Anything else?

ANS: We do perform throughout the school year. Usually ending with a performance at the Barrie Jazz and Blues Fest in June. We also look to have at least one clinician from a university or college jazz program come in and run a practice.