VICTORIA -- When pandemic restrictions cancelled its live performances, the Sidney Concert Band moved its biggest concert of the year online to honour veterans.

Made up of musicians from across the Saancih Peninsula, 35 members of the band gathered at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney to record the ‘Veteran Salute’. The Charlie White Theatre has been the stage for the tribute concert that has been a Remembrance Day tradition for more than a decade.

“We really value the great sacrifice and the great work that was done by our veterans to give us what we have today,” said Sidney Concert Band president Jim Kingham. “Of the concerts we do each year, this is probably the highlight because we get together for something that is really meaningful.”

In the spring when the complete band was prevented from rehearsing due to COVID-19 restrictions, members formed small physically-distanced ensembles to make music together.

“As the fall approached, we said, ‘What can we do for the veterans?’ We decided to bring these ensembles together and with the help of a videographer create a nice experience,” said Kingham.

“Doing this seems to have energized the whole band because we thought we may have to miss this concert this year,” he said.

Kingham says the band will be playing a very eclectic mix of music. The band hopes the selections will appeal to the veterans they are honouring. Most of the music will be from the era between the First and Second World Wars.

“There are some very entertaining and joyful tunes because we don’t want is to be sad and drab, we want it to be life-giving,” said Kingham. “There will be a mixture, a little bit of classical, but mostly popular tunes from that era which we hope everyone will recognize, especially the veterans.”

The Sidney Concert Band hopes that by creating the virtual concert, veterans will know they are appreciated for the sacrifices they have made for Canadians, even during a global pandemic.

“There are a lot of people out here that really care for them, care about them, and we want to do whatever we can for them,” said Kingham.

To further honour veterans, the Sidney Concert Band ‘Veteran Salute’ performance will be available for viewing at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the month.

To watch the ‘Veteran Salute’ on Nov. 11, visit the Sidney Concert Band website here