Howdy blog followers!!! I had the pleasure of interviewing Teighan Fioritti from the Calgary Stampede Showband recently and am so excited to share all about her. She is 22 years old and is a fifth year member of the Showband. In addition to this list of impressive credentials, she is the Trombone Section Leader, Euphonium Section Leader, Brass Music Captain, Brass Marching Captain, and the President of the Stampede Show Band Band Council.
Phew! Looks like I’ve found the perfect Member to interview. So without further ado I present to you:
10 Questions With…. A member of the CS Showband
1. What inspired you to join the Calgary Stampede Showband, and how long have you been with the group?
It was my sister actually. I have looked up to her all my life and she found this incredible experience with the Showband and she kinda sucked me into it as well and I have become just as addicted to it as she was. This will be my fourth year marching with the Showband.
2. Calgary Stampede Showband prides itself on traditions of excellence in musicianship and showmanship. Some people may not understand just how much work goes into each and every one of your performances- how much time must you spend practicing and perfecting your skills?
We rehearse for 3 hours each Tuesday night from beginning of September to mid June. We have a band camp once a month, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. So in total just scheduled hours is around 123 hours for Tuesdays and 80 hours in band camps. But that doesn’t include the hours of practice that are required at home or the small ensembles that rehearse separately during the week.
3. I’m sure you have been able to perform in some pretty exciting locations. Where has been your most memorable performance to date?
I was lucky enough to perform in Kerkrade, Holland for the World Marching Band Competition. There were bands from all over the world and we were fortunate, (and good enough) to make it into the finals performance of which we won our show there. We came in second in the world over all – which I think is an incredible feat. My favorite moment was with the small contingent of Canadians that flew over to support us. There was one moment of our show where we created a C lazy S on the field and at that moment the Canadians went nuts obviously recognizing it for what it was. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to share that symbol with the world.
4. During the 10-day Calgary Stampede, how many appearances will the Showband make? I noticed that there may be some smaller group performances popping up all over Stampede Park…can you explain a little about that?
The Showband as a whole will perform 5 times each day. The band is made up of smaller performance groups which include the Brass Machine, the Sax Choir, Front Ensemble, and Drum Line who will do separate performances on park. Each group will go out on park and perform for the crowd for an hour in several locations once or twice a day depending on the day. These are the people that love performing so much that they sacrifice some much-needed nap-time to play their instruments.
5. Sounds like a gruelling schedule! Performing in Calgary with uncertain weather can be challenging at times I’m sure…those uniforms must be pretty warm. How do you all deal with the elements?
It’s tough for sure. But all you can do is roll with the punches. When it rains you run inside to save your instrument and laugh because there is not much else you can do but wait it out. The heat is the worst. Our show uniforms are polyester and don’t exactly breathe like cotton. You will sweat in places you didn’t even know you could, but its okay because everyone is drenched as well. Everyone complains about it but it’s really lighthearted. There is nothing you can do except make it a competition to see who can get the sweatiest. As gross as that sounds it is so much fun!
6. Certainly performing during the Stampede Parade must be one of the highlights of the year for you, can you feel the energy of the spectators on the sidelines and how does that help to get through the long parade?
The parade is really fun. It’s one of the few performances during the year when we can reach an enormous audience. All of our parade songs have actions that the crowd loves; one in particular is ‘You Can Call Me Al’ by Paul Simon. The actions are fun and we have an opportunity to dance and give high fives to the kids along the street, which they think is super cool. Most groups march by, so its really nice that we can break out of that and let the audience know that we appreciate them coming out to see us.
7. Do you have any advice for any aspiring up and coming musicians and performers wishing to join the Showband?
Be ready to work harder then you thought you could and have more fun then you thought possible. I have done some incredible things in my life that were only possible because of the hard work I put into each rehearsal and show. It’s sweaty work but so immensely worth it.
8. Have you ever had an embarrassing moment during a performance?
Unfortunately yes. It was actually during the finals performance of the WMC competition. It had been pouring rain for quite a while before we started our show. It was ironic really, it was during one of the last charts in our show and I had just thought to myself “this is it you did it and you didn’t fall”… well I didn’t fall exactly, but I slipped pretty epically but am proud to say that I made a great recovery and got back up and finished the show. Unfortunately I was in the front row, with 33,000 people watching.
9. Tell us one fact that the public might be surprised to learn about being a member of the Showband?
All together the Showband does around 120 performances during The Ten Day Show, with small ensembles, full group stage performances, parades, and Stampede Breakfasts. But on top of all that we actually rehearse on our spare time. Our show is really important to us, so we try and work on it as much as possible…so we don’t get a lot of down time. We also do recording of our shows and concert band music during Stampede week.
10. The “Promise” campaign has recently been revealed in the media. What is your personal “Promise” for this year’s Calgary Stampede?
My promise is that I will be proud to put on my cowboy boots and say that I am part of the band. (Which I am)
Special thanks to Teighan for taking a break from her very busy schedule to answer my questions. It is evident that she is very passionate about the CS Showband and I can’t wait to check out one of her many performances during the 10-day show (and not to mention some during the rest of the year!). Want to find out more about the Showband or are you trying to plan your Stampede activities in advance? Have a look here.
Should you have some burning questions in the back of your mind that you’ve always wanted to ask a member of the organization, why not drop us a line? We’d be happy to take any request into consideration. Stay tuned for more new and exciting “10 Questions With…” as we march on with this year’s Calgary Stampede.
For updates and info on everything Stampede, make sure you follow us on Twitter at @calgarystampede and @NGC_CS , on Facebook through our official Facebook fan page, and stay tuned to the official Stampede Blog to learn more about some of the things happening Here. All Year.