Sherwood Park, AB. — The Salisbury Composite High concert band is travelling to Banff, AB., to take part in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival, an international music competition that includes bands from all over Western Canada and parts of the United States. “It’s an honour to be going to such a big festival alongside so many talented bands,” says Sarah Giesbrecht, a Grade 11 member of the Salisbury Composite High concert band. “The festival is a huge deal to us. It’s encouraged us to get better and grow, and will continue to motivate us to improve our skills.”

The Salisbury Composite High concert band, made up of approximately 50 students in grades 10-12, earned their place in the festival lineup thanks to their successful audition they submitted last June. Once school resumed in September, the band got right back to work, practicing daily and in small groups during their free time. “I love our band because it feels like a family,” says Giesbrecht. “Everyone is supportive of one another and our teacher pushes us to be the best we can be. What sets us apart from other bands is that we have all three grade levels playing together, and we have the opportunity to build lasting friendships that grow every year we play together.”

Over the four days in Banff, students will spending most of their time practicing and taking in other performances. Then on Saturday, they’ll play their big show in front of an audience of other bands and a panel of internationally acclaimed judges made up of music professors from universities such as Caltech and the State University of New York. And, the work doesn’t stop there. The next day, the students all take part in a clinic, where the judges offer more feedback about their performance and lead the band in a practice, offering tips they can use to improve their techniques. “We have a long history of great bands coming out of Sherwood Park,” says Rob Graves, Salisbury Composite High’s band teacher. “Our students have been working hard and have made amazing progress as musicians. To have the chance to play in an international competition is a big deal for us—it’s a dream come true.”

While prestigious in its own right, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Festival is, in many ways, a launching ground for concert bands to reach even greater heights. In fact, a successful performance this weekend, could mean an invitation for the Salisbury students to compete in the national competition next season.


Salisbury Composite High serves close to 1,200 students in grades 10 to 12 and is one of 43 schools within Elk Island Public Schools. More information about the school is available at




For more information contact:
Rob Graves, Teacher, Salisbury Composite High, 780-467-8816
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902