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. 

Day 255: CJ Marching Band Takes the Field

CJ marching band 2e

Last Friday night strong thunderstorms moved into the area, cancelling the Carl Junction Marching Band’s first half time performance. Dayan and the band took shelter in the school, in hopes of waiting out the storm. Eventually they were sent home. Tonight, under an overcast sky and with much, much cooler temperatures, the Bulldogs football team took the field on time and the marching Bulldogs got their half time.

I was excited to be headed to Carl Junction again this evening. Although dark clouds hung low in the sky, and a few drops of rain sprinkled across the windshield, the forecast called for nothing more than drizzle and cool, fall-like temperatures. I traded in last week’s short sleeve shirt and lightweight jacket for a couple of shirts layered under a hoodie. Once I arrived at the stadium, I added a long raincoat that served me well in Scotland, and a pair of knit gloves! I was reminded of preparing for the annual Christmas parade, bundled up as I was. Once Greg and I found our seats, saved for us by Elissa, Josh and Jonathan, I also covered up with a heavy plaid throw. I was ready for some football!

The Carl Junction football team was ready as well, making touchdown after touchdown against Springfield Central. At the half, with a score of 48 to 8, the team took a much deserved break. Across the field, the 132 member marching band prepared to take the field. Dayan plays the tuba. He is a tall, muscular young man. When he joined the band, back in 6th grade, he tried out on five different instruments. Five instruments, I might add, that he had never played before. I was so proud of him for deciding to join the band and auditioning on instruments he had just picked up for the first time. As he so often does, Dayan inspired me with his courage and determination. He impressed the band teacher as well. He did so well that he was allowed to choose which instrument he wanted to play. The teacher, though, suggested the tuba. Dayan had the height and strength to carry this cumbersome musical instrument. Dayan agreed….and has become an excellent tuba player, most years qualifying for the regional honor band.

CJ marching band Dayan e

I watched for his tall form, carrying the tuba, as the band members marched toward the stands. I played in the marching band years ago, in junior and senior high. There is still that thrill of anticipation when I watch the band stand at attention, ready to perform. The Marching Bulldogs entertained us with two Latin songs, marching in formations as they played. I especially enjoyed the second song as the band broke into two groups, forming moving circles on the field. And of course, we all stood, infused with school spirit, as the band last of all played the Bulldogs Fight Song. It was an awesome first performance for the year. I was very proud of Dayan and the band and whooped and clapped to show my appreciation for all their hard work.

Dayan’s dad, stepmom, younger sister and baby brother were in the stands too, cheering the band on. We all had the opportunity to see Dayan, as half time wound down and the third quarter began, and congratulate him on an amazing performance. Elissa and I intend to get shirts made for the family that have Dayan’s last name of Reynolds on them and the statement, Here for the marching band. We enjoyed watching the football players too, who were victorious tonight with a 57 – 16 win. And happy to acknowledge that the band contributes to the team spirit, playing before and during the game, musically celebrating each touchdown, and they really shine during half time. I am proud to let everyone know, that I am here for Dayan, and for the band, and that I see them as important as well.

Check out the Bulldogs Marching Band Here