Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Shows

Well the weather outside is frightful, but the Carnival Band is sooo Delightful.

The band had a great performance for the Granville Island winter solstice and lantern festival on the evening of December 21st. Complete with Morris singers, fire dancers, shadow puppets, and lots of other live music, the event was a snow-covered evening to remember.

But there's still lots more to come! Warm up with our Boxing Day show at the Anza Club, with a drum circle, live performances by the Carnival Dancers, and a dance set by DJ Terry Klein.

Then for New Year's Eve, join BurnBC and the Carnival Band as we take over a skytrain car, decorate it all up for the new year, and celebrate with live music and merriment as we zip around the lower mainland on public transit. Meet at 8pm at the VCC skytrain station in your best party dress. Go to for details and a look at last year's antics.

We'll then be disembarking at Stadium Station around 9:45 to carry the party into Gossip, Vancouver's biggest nightclub, for a collaboration with Circus Aerials, an aerial silk trapeze troupe. Tickets to this show are upwards of $100 just to get in the door, so if you're looking to save a buck and still have an amazing new year, you'd better join the band soon!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Laramie Project Demonstration a Great Success

On Friday, November 28th, a large peaceful demonstration was held on Commercial Drive to promote "The Laramie Project". A high-quality video of the event can be viewed here. The Laramie Project is a play written by Moisés Kaufman discussing the brutal 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student attending the University of Wyoming at the time. The demonstration was held in response to threats from the Westboro Baptist Church, a group from Kansas infamous for attending the memorial services of queer men and women and creating disruptions as a way of expressing their disapproval of homosexuality.

Although the group was not allowed passage through the border because of their affiliation with hate crimes, the demonstration was still held out of recognition that intolerance still exists in both Canada and the United States. The group of hundreds of supporters gathered together in Grandview Park in the rain to discuss the complex questions of social equity and to celebrate that works such as The Laramie Project are able to be performed.

The Carnival Band was invited to perform at this important event due to its long history as advocates of nonviolent protest. The band played several sets of music, adding levity and building unity among the crowd which assembled from all over the lower mainland and included as many straight as gay supporters.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Carnival Band and the Laramie Project

The CBC did a little spot on the counter-protest staged in support of the Laramie Project playing at the Havana. The picture accompanying the piece is of us honking away.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Facebook Groups

We now have two facebook groups, one for the Society, and one for the Band.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Carnival Band Recording Fundraiser Party

The Open Air Orchestra Society presents the Carnival Band, with guests Punch Charming and The Pages in an all-night dance party Friday, November 21st at the Waldorf Hotel (1489 Hastings Street, near Clark). Doors at 8pm, show starts at 9.

Punch Charming is an alternative garage rock band that is gaining some serious traction in the Vancouver music scene. Led by vocalist, lyricist, and on-stage acrobat Casey Wei, this band knows how to pack a dance floor.

The Pages are an 11-piece funk/drum&bass ensemble with a full horn section and a smoky, rocking sound. Among their top influences: Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.

Both bands play all original material, and have more energy than you can handle! Round it out with a two-set explosion with the Carnival Band and the Carnival Dancers, and you have a Friday night to remember. Cost is only $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Contact Cory for ticket information at 604.454.8308 or at

Friday, November 7, 2008

Band caught on Youtube

Here's some baaaad video of the band from random people on Youtube.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Passion For Justice

This Thursday, November 6th, The Carnival Band is pairing up with Pivot Legal and the Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society to bring you Passion For Justice. The event is a fund raiser for Pivot, a non-profit law society based in the downtown eastside whose mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins.

What's even better than supporting a fabulous cause like this? Doing it with burlesque in the Supreme Court! Come on down for a fabulous evening of entertainment. The address is 800 Hornby, and the event will run from 6 to 9 pm.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We'll Be in Red

The street party of all Vancouver street parties is coming to Commercial Drive this Saturday, October 25th. The Parade of Lost Souls will overflow the Drive from 1st to Venables, filling the air with mysterious, whimsical dark. The festivities begin around sunset and last well into the night. Watch out for the Carnival Band as we cook up our magic with samba dancers, fire spinners, and you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Artists Come Out for Vision

A group of eclectic artists added their energy to the Vision Vancouver campaign launch yesterday, and hit the front page of 24 Hours today. Hula-hoopers, contact jugglers, and of course the Carnival Band added a dose of celebration to this group of politicians and supporters.

Led by Gregor Robertson, Vision Vancouver promises an end to homelessness, the growth of a green economy, and an investment in creativity. The party has forged an alliance with COPE to avoid splitting the progressive vote and unseat the NPA.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Parade of Lost Souls

The Carnival Band has again been invited to perform at the annual Public Dreams event, Parade of Lost Souls. This night of darkness and wonder is a "lively commemoration of the cycle of life and death, and of facing fears in order to live life to its fullest". The audience are the performers in this uniquely Commercial Drive tradition.

Parade of Lost souls will be held around Grandview Park, starting at 6:30 on the evening of October 25th. This year, the Carnival Band is collaborating with it's new dance troupe for an especially spectacular performance. Wear your most ghastly things, and join us in the fun.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lots happening this Saturday

This Saturday, September 27th, the Carnival Band will be performing in two gigs. At 1 pm, there is a "No Truckin' Freeways" Rally at Robin Park in Surrey, sponsored in part by the Wilderness Committee. The rally is in support of alternatives to the Gateway Project (which would widen Highway 1 to at least 8 lanes, develop a South Fraser Perimeter Road through Burns Bog, and much more). Have a look at for more info.

Then at 8pm on the same day the band will be performing at an Out in Schools fundraiser at the WISE hall (Victoria and Adanac). The organization works to bash stereotypes by bringing queer film to local high schools and facilitating dialogue about bullying and homophobia. Come down and join the fun. Sorry, no minors.

AGM a rousing success!

After nearly a year of operation, the Open Air Orchestra Society held it's first annual general meeting earlier this month. Along with good food and conversation, speeches were delivered by society president Brandon Walker and musical directors Ross Barrett and Tim Sars.

A visioning session was also held to set goals for the upcoming year, with charitable work, artistic collaborations, a bigger community presence, and greater audience involvement topping the list of ideas. Perhaps most exciting of all, the board of directors grew from five to eight, drawing on the fresh talent of newer Carnival Band members. This new surge of logistical and organizational power promises to propel the society into a year of solid growth and lots of fun.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Board

The Open Air Orchestra as elected a new Board! Our new board is as follows:

Brandon Walker, President
Jesse Whitehead, Vice President
Christine McLaren, Secretary
AJ Andrien, Treasurer
Fred Pincock, Director of Operations
Hayley Rose Voaden, Director of Fundraising
Cory Sweet, Performance Liason

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sep 1 2008: Samba rhythm workshop with Paul Bray

The Open Air Orchestra Society is proud to offer yet another free workshop with yet another terrific musician. Paul Bray will be leading a samba percussion workshop from 7:30 - 10pm on Monday, September 1st in the common room of the Grace MacInnis Housing Co-op, 825 Salsbury Drive.

Paul Bray is a dynamic and charismatic percussionist working as a music educator and performer in Vancouver. First schooled in classical styles, Paul has focused his attention to African influenced styles, specializing in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian folkloric styles.

Paul has studied extensively in Cuba and has collaborated with Vancouver's Afro-Bahia Dance Productions and Yasse Afro-Arts. He also works as a studio musician and directs Sambata, Vancouver's 20-piece Escola de Samba.

Currently, Paul is the percussion instructor at the Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach – an Arts Umbrella youth program, and is guest instructor with the Britannia World Rhythms Ensemble. In the performing arena Paul is a member of Tambor Iroko, led by Jack Duncan, Candela, and a regular club percussionist, collaborating with local DJ’s in Vancouver.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Decent Exposure

Tuesday, August 19th, the Carnival Band will be performing at the Decent Exposure Theatre Company fundraiser at Backstage Lounge. Led by long-time Carnival Band trumpeter Nathan Detroit Barrett, Decent Exposure is responsible for such great features as the YouTube sensation "Melt Face".

This variety show will feature live music, comedy and dance. Sharing the stage will be Vancouver's own Blackberry Wood, gearing up for their forthcoming tour to London. Doors at 9pm with a $10 suggested donation.

Monday, August 11, 2008

UBC Farm Blackberry Festival Market

On Saturday, Aug. 16th, 10-11 am, the Carnival Band will be performing at the Annual UBC Farm Blackberry Festival Market. The market celebrates the season and demonstrates our great potential for local, urban food production. The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm is Vancouver's last working farm, and one of only a handful of urban farms in Canada. Over 150 varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers from the farm will be available for sale, as well as eggs from their free-range chickens.

The farm is under threat from UBC to be turned into condos, and demonstrations at the market are part of the ongoing fight. The band will be attired as fruits and vegetables for the show (naturally).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Open Air Orchestra Society Coming Out Party

On Friday, August 8th, the Open Air Orchestra Society will be throwing a party like no other at the Fairview Pub, 898 West Broadway. The Carnival Band is headlining the night, with special guests Hemingway's Gun and PIM: two bands that have grown in part out of the skill and performance ethic learned through the Carnival Band.

A pittance of a cover ($10) will be charged, with all proceeds towards bringing more music to your city! Doors at 9pm, music at 10.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Take off!

To the great festivals of coastal British Columbia

The Carnival Band has been invited to perform at Artopia in Sointula, and Seafest in Alert Bay during the weekend of July 25th-27th. Both events mark the height of the summer season for these northern island communities, where music, dance, and wonderful fresh food provide ample cause for celebration.

The Open Air Orchestra Society is proud to share the colour and vibrancy of the Carnival Band throughout this particularly beautiful corner of Canada. During the voyage, band members hope to perform with the Comox and Port McNeill farmer's markets, as well as local neighborhoods on Malcolm Island.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh Canada!

The Carnival Band is thrilled to be leading Vancouver's biggest Canada Day parade on Granville Island this year. The Parade will begin at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, July 1st, near Ocean Cement.

Festivities will be taking place on Granville Island all day, from 7am to 7pm. Join us in this family friendly and fun event, with free jazz performances courtesy of the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, roving performers, face painting, tattoos, and tons of activities for visitors of all ages. International events and performers will add to the vibrant and diverse culture that makes our country worth celebrating!

Monday, June 23, 2008


The Work Less Party is at it again - this time with a Carnivale themed party, complete with kissing booth, spanking booth, and body art competition. It all happens Saturday, June 28th at their latest favorite venue: the Japanese Hall, 487 Alexander Street. Join the Carnival Band and many other performance artists at the city's most outrageous Party. Festivities begin around 9pm.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Car Free and Beautiful

Sunday, June 15th is Car Free Vancouver Day, and the Carnival Band will be out in force. From 10am to 3pm, the band will be performing nearly non-stop along Commercial Drive. Look for us on rooftops, in trees, at nomination conventions, and of course in the street. In particular, we will be performing at the Parker Street stage from 2-3pm.

Car Free Day is an annual festival which this year fills four Vancouver neighborhoods: Commercial Drive, Kitsilano, the West End, and Main Street. Without the noise, smell, and safety hazards of cars, the people of the city are able to come out and greet one another in public space with performance, healing arts, and of course vibrant commerce.

From the festival website, these events were originally established as a way to protest the Gateway, a "highway-building megaproject which would bring thousands more cars into our neighbourhoods as well as destroying Burns Bog, valuable farmland, and the wildlife of our region." For more information see

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Collingwood Days

The Carnival Band is proud to support the Collingwood Days celebration once again this year. The transportation themed festival is an established event of Vancouver summer, made possible by hundreds of artists and community leaders.

The band will lead a parade from the Joyce skytrain station starting at 11am on Saturday, May 31st. A short parade set will follow. Come out and dance with us!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 18 2008: African Percussion Workshop with Russell Shumsky

This workshop is uniquely crafted for the Carnival Band and will be held at the Strathcona Community Centre on May 18th, from 7:30 - 9:30 pm. All are welcome to this event, which is free of charge.

Russell Shumsky is a professional drummer and teacher with over twenty years of experience. Skilled on the marimba, djembé, dunduns, bodhran, and congas, Russell is both an incredible performer and a patient facilitator. He has traveled to West Africa five times to learn from master drummers and bring back their powerful rhythms. He also studied music at the University of Victoria and Vancouver Community Collage.

Russell regularly leads 8-week hand drumming courses, and hosts drum circles throughout Vancouver. To find out more, go to

Monday, May 12, 2008

Victory for Garibaldi School

Against all odds, Garibaldi, a small kindergarten to Grade 3 Eastside school slated for closure in September, recently won a signal victory by convincing the Vancouver School Board to keep their school open. The Carnival Band was proud to perform in the school board chambers both before and after their decision, and to celebrate with the children of this community with a parade.

Over a six month period this small school and its surrounding community put together an innovative 60 page plus brief that COPE trustee Al Blakey described as “a remarkable and visionary educational document".

The VSB, while offering a modified proposal that differed from the original Garibaldi submission, recognized the value of the school’s detailed submission with several NPA trustees commending the community for its persistent effort.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Artists for Gregor

This Sunday, April 20th, The Carnival Band will be performing in an event celebrating the candidacy of Gregor Robertson for Mayor of Vancouver. A long-time sustainability and ethical business advocate, Gregor has worked as an organic farmer, co-founded the Ethics in Action Award winning juice company Happy Planet, and currently serves as MLA for Vancouver-Fairview. As MLA, he served as the Opposition Critic for Small Business and Co-Chair of the Caucus Climate Change Task Force, as well as putting forward two private members bills mandating clear food labeling and the regulation of carcinogens, toxic substances and genetically engineered food. The "Artists for Gregor" event hopes to raise awareness about his platform and inspire political empowerment within East Vancouver's rich artistic community.

The evening is planned to run from 7-10pm in room 210 of the Trout Lake Community Center, and is free and open to the public. The Carnival Band will be joined by local pop act Bridge, other performance artist guests, and of course Gregor himself.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Let the Summer Festivals Begin!

This Sunday, April 6th, the Carnival Band will bring its music to the 11th Annual Port Moody Festival of the Arts, at 2425 St. Johns Street in Port Moody. This event marks the first of the summer festival performances for the band, which is ready for the music and the sunshine.

The Open Air Orchestra Society is glad to support the Port Moody Festival of the Arts. In fact, many of the society's values are mirrored in this event: providing opportunities for their community to work with and learn from professional performers and artists, as well as providing affordable and accessible arts experiences both ticketed and free in a diversity of venues throughout Port Moody.

To learn more about the festival, go to Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Backstage Lounge gets ready to Grind

The Grind Show is coming to the Backstage Lounge on Granville Island this Friday, March 28th. The show is an Ayden Gallery production including music by The Carnival Band, PIM, and Brasstronaut. Also in the show will be dancing by the Rococo Dance Troop and a photography exhibit by Betty Pietak.

The Carnival Band is highly charged for the event after a series of explosive performances at the HONK festival in Seattle last weekend. Bringing back the collective energy of the best alternative street bands from around the United States, the band is sure to bring the house to its feet. The event starts at 9pm, and has a $6 cover charge for non-performers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Carnival Band Heads to HONK!

The big weekend is finally here. This Friday, March 21st, The Carnival Band will be crossing the US border by train, bus, and automobile to attend the inaugural Honk Fest West in Seattle. The festival is a convocation of sixteen street bands from all over the United States, as well as hundreds of impromptu performers and supporters of community music.

The group will be performing three shows a night, both Friday and Saturday nights, and open jams will be happening all throughout the city. In addition, Carnival Band co-director Tim Sars will be hosting a jazz theory/improv workshop as part of the festival's programming. Alternative community music guru Gregg Moore will also be in attendance and conducting workshops on street performance and the power of music.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Carnival Band a Big Hit at Lime

On the evening of March 6th, The Carnival Band had it's first performance at the newly remodeled Commercial Drive restaurant, Lime. Grateful for the bigger stage that the renovations afforded, the band spread out and filled the house with music from twenty performers - from trumpets and tubas to surdos and djembes, saxophones and tambourines. The band's two full sets were well recieved, with standing-room-only in the house until the last round of encores rang out at 11:30.

Among the highlights of the night were some great solos and dancing from some of the band's newest members, an alto sax and a trumpet player, both just out of elementary school. The Open Air Orchestra Society is grateful for this opportunity to share our music, and hopes to revisit the cozy venue another time soon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fruits and Vegetables Storm the Stage!

“For the 3rd time in a row, The Carnival Band added a welcomed dose of energy and vitality to kick off our 4th annual 'Promoting Healthy Living: A Multicultural Health Fair.' Wearing an array of colourful costumes representing different fruit and vegetables, the band trumpeted their way leading our special guests from the Opening Ceremony, such as Mayor Sam Sullivan, into the exhibition hall.

Their diverse music style left a lasting impression on our multicultural audience and conveys the importance of joyful fun to anyone seeking to lead a healthy lifestyle.”

-Vivianne De Pass, Health Fair Coordinator

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Carnival Band Makes a Splash at Henderson Elementary

Today the Carnival Band performed for one of its favorite audiences: children. Over one hundred kids from grades 1 to 5 danced, sang, and shook the auditorium for over an hour in the small east Vancouver school of Henderson Annex Elementary.

This unique environment allowed the band to add short but engaging lessons in music history and performance to its regular repertoire of fun and funky tunes from around the world. The children responded enthusiastically, asking to hold instruments, play notes, and clap out rhythms of their own.

The band is grateful to the school's administration for the opportunity to reach the leaders (and musicians) of tomorrow.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Feb 11 2008: Latin Percussion Workshop with Pepe Danza

Pepe Danza, the well-known and highly sought-after local percussionist, will be hosting a 2-hour workshop specifically for the rhythm section of The Carnival Band on February 11th, 2008. A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, Joseph "Pepe" Danza started his professional career at thirteen, then studied at the National Conservatory. Pepe quickly developed an interest in world music and spent three years studying shakuhachi in Japan, and two years studying Indian music in India and Sri Lanka. Moving to Canada in 1989, he quickly established himself as one of the foremost drummers and band leaders on the West coast. His credits include performances with South Indian master drummer Trichy Sankaran, and concert tours throughout Europe, Korea and New Zealand.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Carnival Band to Help Bring in the Rat

The Carnival Band has been invited again this year to participate in Vancouver's Chinese New Year Parade, one of the city's largest non-commercial parades. The event starts at 10am on Sunday, February 10th at the Millenium Gate (Pender and Taylor St.) in Chinatown, and features the largest assembly of traditional lion dance teams in Canada.

As well as showcasing Vancouver's vibrant Chinese and Asian communities, the parade provides a safe and fun setting for a wide range of street performances representing the diverse cultural heritage of Vancouver and Canada. There are estimated to be 3,000 performers and 50,000 spectators at this enormously engaging event, and Channel M's media coverage will bring the parade to thousands more.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Carnival Band Invited to Honk Fest West

Bill Clifford of the Anti-Fascist Marching Band has begun organizing the 1st annual Honk! Fest West, to be held in Seattle, Washington on March 23rd. This Honk! event draws much of its inspiration from the enormously successful Honk! festival held annually in Somerville, Massachusetts. The Honk! Fest West celebration will coincide with the 9th Annual Conference on Diversity in Musical Education (C-DIME 9) to be held that weekend at the UW School of Music. Charles Keil, another key organizer who will also be the keynote speaker at the conference, is a leading advocate of early childhood musical education and of grooving street music. See his websites such as,, and

Honk! events are a celebration of the emergence of a new type of street band, one that is typically accoustic and mobile, often politically aware and articulate, and always high spirited. There is a rich community ethic amongst many honkers, who use their music to erode the barriers between professional and novice, and between audience and performers. Although uniforms are sometimes used as a performance tool, individuality is key, and group members often hail from all range of classes, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds. Perhaps most importantly, the Honk! website proclaims, "the honkers' ultimate goal is to have fun, to relish the art of making fun as a form of individual and collective transcendence, and to encourage others to see and do the same."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Skytrain Jams

There's a couple of videos of the band playing on the Skytrain, as well as the New Year's Eve party on the skytrain.