Political band makes noise for a cause

A one-of-a-kind band with a political point of view is pulling out its horns, drums and percussion to play an entertaining show for a cause.

A one-of-a-kind band with a political point of view is pulling out its horns, drums and percussion to play an entertaining show for a cause.

The Carnival Band, a community music project based out of Vancouver ‘s Commercial Drive’s Britannia Community Centre, is playing a benefit concert for the extreme weather shelter in Trail this Friday.

But the band, made up of musicians of all levels, is also hitting the stage one day early at Trail’s Music in the Park at 7 p.m. Thursday, followed by a show at the Rex Hotel at 9 p.m. – kicking off their four-day performance schedule in the West Kootenay.

“I wouldn’t say we’re a democratic band but it’s kind of like that,” explained musical director Ross Barrett. “When we’re in rehearsal and somebody comes and says, ‘Hey, do you want to do this gig?’ And we just put up our hands if we do and almost always if it’s for a homeless shelter, everybody is into doing it, it goes without say.”

An ad-hoc committee is dedicated to reopening the La Nina Extreme Weather Emergency Shelter in the basement of the Salvation Army in East Trail this winter. But the group hopes with a little bit of financial support, the shelter that is only opened during extreme winter weather in February and March, can extend its service.

“We need a fulltime shelter –this is not something that provides stability for people but it does keep them from freezing,” said Nola Landucci, shelter director. “We’d like to be able to keep that centre open, even on some fringy days, but obviously if you get a 10-degree Chinook then you don’t need to run an extreme shelter.”

Money raised will go towards keeping the haven open on days that are still cold but don’t fall under the requirements set by the B.C. Housing funding rules or will support a new “shelter link” initiative, which will connect homeless individuals using the facility to supportive organizations like FAIR the morning they check out.

“It makes it possible,” said Landucci. “There is no kind of integrated system to do that, certainly not for homeless.”

The benefit hits home for the Carnival Band, which has acted as the voice for affordable housing and homelessness for many walks or political gatherings.

“That’s one of the neatest things, too, is we can take a really angry crowd and get them dancing,” said Barrett. “It’s not like the musicians are expert players or anything. That’s another unique quality to the band is that anybody can join it, it’s not exclusive in that sense.”

The 67-year-old decided to make a trip back for his 50th graduation reunion at Nelson’s L.V. Rogers Secondary and is bringing about 20 of his band mates with him.

“Basically we just want to play music, you know, but music has that quality of love, it really comes from love,” he said.

The Carnival Band will play the benefit concert at Kate’s Kitchen at 2 p.m. Friday, before entertaining the B.C. Seniors Games’ banquet at 5p.m. Saturday, the group will move onto dancing and jamming at Sissie’s in Winlaw at 2 p.m. and then perform at the Royal Hotel in Nelson at 9 p.m

For more information on the Carnival Band, visit www.thecarnivalband.com