It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Edsel Bonnell, founder and Director of the Gower Bands for 45 years, has passed away. He was 88 years old, and leaves behind a legacy of music and musicians almost beyond comprehension. Hundreds of GYB and GCB band members have played under his baton, and the path of each of their lives was made all the richer for that experience. More than a few of those band members went on to become professional musicians and educators, and influenced thousands more. You will find GYB and GCB alumni in almost every occupation, and in countries around the world, and they all share the ongoing love of music that was such a huge part of being in a band with Dr. Bonnell.
His song has not ended, it has merely changed key.
There has been some media coverage this week on Edsel's passing and his incredible work with the GYB/GCB.
1.) John Bonnell was interviewed by Anthony Germain on "On The Go" Thursday, Feb. 15.
2.) Mike Herriott, Romano DiNillo, Ron Collins, and Erin Dawe were guests of Heather Barrett Saturday Feb. 17 on "Weekend AM".
3.) Heather Barrett has written a lovely article as well.
As per Mr. Bonnell's obituary, donations supporting the band's community service outreach are gratefully accepted by the Gower Community Band. E-transers can be sent to GowerBand@gmail.com. Our postal mailing address can be found on our Contact Us page.
The funeral service was live streamed, and is available for viewing (complete with the GCB Prelude HERE.
The Gower Community Band (GCB) is a non-denominational community service outreach initiative of Gower Street United Church. We are proud of its distinguished heritage of music education and community service dating back to the founding of the Gower Youth Band in October 1973.
Membership is open to anyone who has a love of band music and enjoys the challenge and satisfaction of developing musical skills along with a sincere commitment to community service. The GCB meets every Wednesday evening from 8:00-9:30 in the band room at Gower (located above the office), and new members are welcomed at any time.
The Gower band program has been especially appreciated by those who move to the St. John's area through career transfers or post-secondary education and look for an opportunity to participate in expanded community service, and for adults who have played in school or university bands and wish to continue playing and learning after graduation. There are no membership fees.
The 2023-2024 season will be a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Gower Band Program. Any GYB or GCB alumni visiting this page are urged to use the Contact Us page to send us an email. Tell us what you're up to these days, and get updates on the 50th anniversary celebrations!
The band performs 6-8 times a year, some of which are smaller ensemble performances. A special focus of the GCB is performing at Seniors' Residences, providing "concerts for people who can't get out to concerts".
We perform two concerts per year in our "Downtown Pops Concert" series, in the fall and spring. Both take place at Gower Street United Church and are free of charge.
The GCB makes itself available to the community for benefit concerts and entertainment for institutions and service organizations.
The band also has a strong commitment to music education, and maintains annual scholarship programs both internally and at Memorial University for promising young musicians in performance, teaching, and composition.
We are especially proud of our Terra Nova Program (TNP) for new concert band compositions written by students at MUN School of Music.