The Calgary Stampede Showband is thrilled to announce that they will be travelling to compete in the World Music Contest (WMC) in Kerkrade, The Netherlands in summer 2017. WMC is the Olympics of music taking place over four weeks from Thursday, July 6 – Sunday, July 30, 2017. The event will feature more than 260 musical ensembles and 20,000 individual musicians. The Showband will be leaving right after Stampede to compete in the marching show band class on Sunday, July 30 against 60 other marching show bands from around the globe.

Photo credit: Kien Le
The Showband is a youth performance ensemble that rehearses and performs year round. Photo credit: Kien Le.

Although the Showband has won the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WASMB) championships five times, they have never won WMC. According to the Stampede’s director of bands, Aaron Park, WMC is similar to WAMSB but a bigger event. The Showband has previously travelled to Kerkrade to compete in WMC in 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001 and most recently in 2009, when they achieved third place. Although the band always strives for excellence, Park is excited that they’ll have the opportunity to represent the Stampede, Calgary and Canada on the international stage and to share what the Showband does with the world, both musically and culturally. Additionally, Showband members will have the unique opportunity to experience other musical styles and cultures first hand.

Showband Director Aaron Park visited Parkstad Limburg Stadium in Kerkrade, where the Showband will compete in July.
Showband director of bands Aaron Park visited Parkstad Limburg Stadium in Kerkrade, where the Showband will compete in July.

In pursuit of their first WMC win, the Showband will be working hard all year, with nearly 300 hours of rehearsal scheduled between now and the end of June. They’ll also be putting in long hours to rehearse their competition show on top of performances during Stampede 2017 in preparation for the trip. With no time to spare, the band will fly to Europe the day after Stampede time ends so that they can become acclimatized and rehearse even more to perfect their show.

Showband has previously competed in WMC six times, including in 1993 as shown here.
Showband has previously competed in WMC six times.

The Showband’s 2017 production will celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary so it’s only fitting that the band will visit Vimy Ridge in France and Ypres in Belgium while they are in Europe. Other non-competition performances will include a town square appearance in Aachen, Germany, a street parade in Kerkrade, and a SoundSport-esque exhibition performance in Parkstad Limburg Stadium during WMC.

You can stay connected with the Showband while they’re abroad by following them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Stay tuned for the Showband’s 2017 production announcement in Spring 2017!