Cochrane Music Society was formed by parents of children in Rob Billington’s Mitford Middle School music program. The first ensemble was the Band on the Bow concert band and the members were either people with no background in music whatsoever or those who had played an instrument in school and then put it down for many years. Bylaws were developed and the society was incorporated in 1999. Some of the original founding members are still active musicians and volunteers in the group.
The members’ enthusiasm for learning and willingness to practice was so great that in just one year Rob suggested that they might enjoy a big band genre jazz band. So Riverside Jazz was formed with most of the jazz players in both bands.
Over the years, the bands benefited from Rob’s great musical instruction and raised their level of playing. They played regular community concerts, invited other community band members to join them in workshops and band camps and started the annual Big Band Dance.
As the music level of the bands progressed, the membership recognized that there was a need for beginner level instruction to support the addition of new members. The Undercurrents beginner concert band was formed to fill that gap. The Undercurrents usually operates in two-year cycles after which the members are able to move into Band on the Bow. The beginner band can only operate when numbers justify.
In 2007, in response to the community desire for a local choir, Choral Waves mixed choir was initiated. That first year the choir was small but had so much fun that through word-of-mouth advertising it quickly grew to be the largest CMS ensemble.
With expansion into four ensembles, the CMS membership recognized the need to create a stated mission and vision. In 2008, the board initiated that effort, determined that guiding principles also were appropriate and organized a workshop for all members to participate in the groundwork. At the 2008 Annual General Meeting the following were adopted.
The mission of The Cochrane Music Society is to promote shared musical expression and cultural heritage by providing affordable, flexible, effective music education to adults in the community.
The vision of the Cochrane Music Society is to be a vibrant, dynamic component of Cochrane’s diverse musical community.
♫ We are an inclusive organization, recognizing potential in all people and achieving common goals through supportive teamwork and professional leadership.
♫ We maintain a sustainable program of musical instruction for members of varied experience.
♫ We engage respected, qualified educators who have the ability to inspire learning and integrate individual expression in musical ensembles.
♫ We achieve progressive goals of excellence through repertoire that challenges yet promotes success and enjoyment.
♫ We recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our members.
♫ We explore innovative opportunities to adapt to the changing musical interests and talents of the community.
Now in our eighteenth year, changes have brought us new conductors for all of the ensembles and the Cochrane Music Society continues to fulfill its mission. We are finding new performance opportunities, collaborating with other musical groups and enjoying our upbeat and fun rehearsals as we learn music together.
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