The tickling turned out to be senior band students with brooms, and that was only one surprise at the annual winter pops concert last Monday, Feb. 15. Brett Bungum said he was still laughing at the shrieks from the audience and at how band director Bryan Mara, after the song was finished, jokingly called the audience rude.
“It was a very unique concert,” he concluded. “It had lots of unexpected things happen.”
The theme for the concert was “Animals Live.” Besides linking the music, the bands had a number of animal-related aids. For instance, each audience member was given a complimentary snack of animal crackers as they entered the high school gymnasium. During several numbers, a video screen was used, including clips from The Lion King during the senior band’s performance of highlights from that soundtrack.
“It was really good as usual,” said Diane Hoyme. “I liked the themes.”
“I think the students really enjoyed it,” said Mara. “We try to make it as entertaining as possible.”
Senior tuba player Josh Jones agreed, “I think it’s nice that we’ve got a young director who’ll let us do that kind of fun stuff.”
The concert started with a combined performance of both the junior and senior bands. “I was most impressed by their ability to come in on a Monday, no school, no practice time, and perform as well as they did,” said Mara.
The concert was originally scheduled for Feb. 1, but school closed for the weather and the concert was postponed. Mara had already spent five hours setting up the gym when it was postponed. Because it was rescheduled for a day without school, the bands hadn’t practiced since the previous Friday, hadn’t played in the gymnasium since their Christmas concert, and hadn’t ever played the combined band songs together.
“I just wish we had an auditorium for these wonderful concerts,” Hoyme said. “You have to go pretty early to get a padded seat in front.”
“I enjoyed the combination of the two bands together,” said Eileen Flanders. “I also enjoyed the jazz band contribution.”
The jazz band, which practices before school a couple days a week, played four animal-related numbers. One familiar song was “The Pink Panther.” Soloists during their numbers were: Troy Schmidt, Casey Kavanagh, Tricia Hemmesch, Bridget Mueller, Lynn Stoneburner, Corey Schmidt, Lauren Vork, Kelly Loesch, Eric Korman, Camille Flanders, and Joe Halverson.
The junior band played three songs by itself before the jazz band, and the senior band played three after it.
The grand finale for the concert was the combined band’s performance of “A Day at the Circus.” This number included a circus video, clowns, and Halverson as the ringmaster.
Both the bands and the audience were pleased with the concert. Junior Anne Janotta said, “I thought we played well, and the music was fun.”
Hoyme and Flanders appreciated Mara’s leadership and the time spent by him and the students to prepare the music. “Our kids just loved it,” said Bungum, “and some of the older people did, too.”
The band will be competing in solo and ensembles on Monday, March 15. The entire band will perform in a large-group contest on Tuesday, March 23.
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