Winter Band Concert

What a treat this evening, to be in the audience during grandson Jonathan’s band concert debut. This talented young man, who sings, dances and performs in musicals and plays, added a band instrument to his repertoire three months ago, choosing the clarinet.

Tonight the 6th Grade Band opened the winter concert at the Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium.

Looking classy in a white button down shirt, suspenders and a bow tie, Jonathan was front and center on the stage. He did not appear to be at all nervous for his first band concert.

The 6th Grade Band, Jazz Band, and 7th & 8th Grade Band performed under the direction of Mr. Matthew Reimer. He did a fantastic job of introducing each band and explaining their musical numbers. It was easy to see that this dedicated band teacher is building skills in his students that will further their musical talents.

Jonathan and his fellow musicians led off with A Mozart Melody by W.A. Mozart, a readily recognizable tune. Listen to it HERE. Their next selection was Listen to Our Sections by John Higgins. Mr. Reimer explained this piece helps the students learn when to play, and when not to play. Watch it HERE.

Aura Lee by George R. Poulton was musical piece number three. You can experience it HERE. And for their grand finish, the band performed a Christmas classic, Jingle Bells by J.S. Pierpont. Sing along HERE.

I was so proud of Jonathan, and the 6th Grade Band. These children are at the beginning of a musical journey that will take them through hours and hours and hours of practicing and perfecting. Ahead are many performances in marching bands, ensembles and concerts. I am thrilled to have witnessed this auspicious first performance.

Jonathan’s big brother, Dayan, who made it home from the university in time to be present in the audience, began his musical journey in 6th grade as well. I spent the next six years enjoying his concerts and performances. How perfectly timed is Jonathan’s decision to pursue band as well. I have more years ahead to enjoy his performances.

There are powerful life lessons to learn, mastering a musical instrument. Those lessons about playing their parts, focusing on the music in front of them, and allowing the other musicians to play their parts well are apparent to me also as I watch with appreciation and gratitude.

It just would not have felt right this December, without a band concert to attend. Well done, Jonathan. You played beautifully. Bravo!

34th Annual Four State Honor Band Concert

What an amazing and special concert this evening, to finish out the school year, and to complete my grandson Dayan’s seven years in band. The 34th Annual Four State Honor Band Concert was held in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, in Pittsburg, Kansas. Two hundred high school musicians, selected from across the four state region of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, met today for the first time to prepare for tonight’s concert.

34th Annual Four State Honor Band

This event, coordinated by Dr. Craig Fuchs, Professor of Music and Director of the Honors College at Pittsburg State University, showcases the talents of young, promising musicians. This evening the PSU Wind Ensemble began the evening with Dr. Fuchs conducting. Their final number, Finale from Symphony No. 1, brought the audience to their feet in appreciation. Dayan told me after the concert that this was Dr. Fuchs’ final performance at Pitt State, which explained his tearful thank you’s and the emotion rich performance that included alumni joining in, playing above us in the balcony.

The high school performers were divided into two bands. The first group played brilliantly, under the direction of Dr. Curran Prendergast. I was impressed to find out that the concerts tonight featured guest  conductors who are also composers.

34th Annual Four State Honor Band

Dayan performed with the final group. Their band was directed by Randall Standridge, who is a full time composer and marching band editor for Grand Mesa Music Publishers. Of the five musical pieces performed by this band, three of them were composed by Standridge.

And while all three bands gave outstanding performances, of course this one, with my grandson playing the tuba, wowed me the most. From the opening notes of their first number, Galop, these young musicians were bold, confident and beautifully competent. It is astonishing to me, that these teens give such incredible performances after a few hours of rehearsing together. It speaks of their musical abilities and the guidance of their band teachers that they can each offer their unique gift so absolutely and create such soulful and robust music together.

These performances never fail to move me to tears. Tonight, I was especially moved, watching my grandson on the back row, his dark head bent over his tuba as he skillfully played, and knowing this was his last concert as a high schooler.

As he entered 6th grade, this boy who had never played a musical instrument tried out for band, on five different instruments. He was asked to play the tuba, because he could move air through it well, and he had the strength to carry it. This was so characteristic of my grandson, who has always been courageous and never cared to dwell within a comfort zone, to go after something new that interested him.

He has carried that attitude of going after things throughout his high school years. As a musician, Dayan has auditioned for numerous honor bands and ensembles and competed across the state. It has been my great pleasure to attend his many marching band performances and concerts over the years, watching as he has been recognized for his hard work and determination.

34th Annual Four State Honor Band

Tonight’s beautiful concert was a shining achievement after years of dedication, practicing his music. As he goes to University of Missouri in Columbia this fall, he leaves prepared by his time in band to offer his music to the world, both literally and figuratively. Dayan has learned to focus on what he has to offer, and to allow others to give their best as well. The lessons he has learned playing a musical instrument will carry him well into adulthood, where he will continue to live beyond his comfort zone, and continue to present his gifts to the world.

I am so proud of this young man. This fall Dayan auditions for a position in MU’s concert band. Columbia isn’t so far away. I look forward to attending more concerts.

Listen to Ruckus, composed and conducted by Randall Standridge….and what about those tubas!! Loved this lively piece. 

Carl Junction HS Wind Ensemble Concert at PSU

A brief post tonight, to share a stirring video from my grandson Dayan’s wind ensemble concert at Pittsburg State University. Dayan has been playing the tuba in marching band and in concert band for six years. As a senior in high school, he is nearing the end of a long and highly successful season of performing with these bands.

Carl Junction HS Wind Ensemble Concert at PSU
I am so proud of these high school teens who have dedicated themselves to their art. Their music never fails to move me and inspire me as I listen to them play with skill and passion.

Tonight I sat in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts, in Pittsburg, Kansas with my daughter, son-in-law, grandson Jonathan, and Dayan’s Nana Deb and great-grandmother, tears in my eyes as I watched the ensemble perform. As graduation approaches, we have two performances remaining with this group of musicians. There is a sense of sadness mixed in with pride, and disbelief that the time has flown by so quickly mixed in with joy as new adventures beckon to these young adults.

It is bittersweet. And beautiful. And exactly as it should be.

Here is the Carl Junction High School Wind Ensemble, performing Into the Joy of Spring, by James Swearingen, in three parts:

  1. Winter’s Fury
  2. Spring’s Awakening
  3. A Celebration of Joy

Scott Schneider, conductor

What a fitting final number tonight! Enjoy.

 

 

Carl Junction HS Wind Ensemble Concert at PSU

Dayan playing the tuba.