Mondays Are For Music
March 13, 2019
Monday, March 11 was the combined Band and Choir concert here at the high school. During this concert the band and choirs shared their three contest pieces and they also did a combined piece from The Greatest Showman. Concert and Jazz band performed to take up the band portion of the concert. The choir portion included the Concert Choir, Bel Canto, Oak Street and Men of Note.
We talked to Band Director Ms. Koehler about how the concert band did at their contest in Hutchinson. “The band did a very nice job at contest. They received two excellent ratings and one superior,” she said. The total score is out of 40 points and the band received a 31, 33, and a 35. Two of the three pieces that the band performed were college level pieces.
We decided to see what Koehler’s goals are for the future. “Next year, I want to see band members that have their notes and rhythms down on an individual basis sooner. Full band rehearsal is meant to be a time to learn everyone’s part, not just your own,” she said. She believes that is the change that will make the band jump from excellents to three superiors. Koehler also hopes to change up some of the pep band tunes next year and add some new ones as well as improve their marching skills.
Jazz Band does not attend contest but did perform three of their pieces at the concert. The Jazz Band is rather large this year with lots of trumpets and saxophones. They have been using their practice time to prepare for Eagles Extravaganza and the Jazz Festival they will attend in April. We also asked Koehler if the snow had impacted the Jazz Band at all. She said, “Because of the snow we have lost rehearsal time. The weather has also affected people’s moods and attitudes – everyone seems tired of being stuck inside.”
After talking to Ms. Koehler about the band program we headed on over to the other side of the music program to talk to Mrs. Horning, the choir director. Horning said, “I am very proud of how Bel Canto performed at contest. In my opinion their sound is that of a college women’s choir and that is evident in the scores they came home with.” Bel Canto earned two 35s, which is a superior rating, and one 33 which is an excellent. Horning also said, “Concert choir did very well at contest. Their choral literature is quite challenging. Their hardest piece, Prayer of the Children, was the most difficult to learn because the students had to fully understand the heart-ache violence war can have on children and convey that in their singing as well as learning the rhythm and dynamics of the song.” Concert choir received three 33s, which is three excellents at contest. When asked about next year, Horning said, “One thing both choirs need to improve on is using time outside of class to prepare for their performance”.
Oak Street does not perform at contest but performed at the concert on Monday evening. One challenge that Oak Street faces is having so many students involved in so many activities and other challenging classes. Horning said, “It is a struggle to get everyone at rehearsal being that we rehearse outside of the school day.” Overall the group is doing well because the students are all quick learners. The weather had an impact on this group as well and is the reason that Oak Street did not have choreography at this concert. Horning felt that it was more important to focus on their four part singing than worrying about choreography.
The idea to have a combined choir and band concert for the first time came from Mr. Guentzel. The music program will try it out this year and they will discuss the pros and cons of the combined concert. Ms. Koehler and Mrs. Horning thought that a combined band and choir concert was the perfect time to try out a combined piece. They chose the Greatest Showman because it is a more contemporary song to break up the contest music because it is not everyone’s favorite and it helps to break up rehearsal time.