I know I have been posting a lot of band stuff lately but it has been our lives lately. School is winding down so band is slowing too although lessons and playing are definitely not! Anyhow, I have been remiss in posting about our kids’ participation in All-County Band for Kanawha County!
Abigail started lessons a few years ago as a younger-than-normal flute student. She had her ups and downs with it initially, but has developed into quite a flutist. Jump ahead to this year, the first year she is actually old enough to play in band. She was ahead of the curve some from experience which set her up well to try out for All-County Band. As I understand it, she was the only 6th grader in the county to make the band and to boot, she made 9th chair out of 22! I am so proud of her and she really stepped up her game. She rose well to the challenge and plays all the time now around the house.
Isaac also made the high school All-County Band for tenor sax. He’s such a funny kid…he did his audition but felt like he didn’t play as well as he had hoped. He was disappointed and never bothered to even look at the list of students who made the band when it was released. By dumb-luck, one of his friends made a comment along the lines of “See you at practice tonight.” He had to query what the friend meant who of course, let him know that he was in the band…the day of the first rehearsal! Isaac had no idea that he had made the band as second chair! Anyhow, he also played very well and I am so proud of his playing as well. Band truly does mean a lot in our house and we enjoy watching the kids develop into really great musicians!
It seems like things have been pretty slow around our place lately but we remain busy with stuff…some of the stuff I can identify, while other things are less clearly identified. Anyhow, last weekend, we had the pleasure of hearing Isaac and a small group of his fellow band members play at the Solo and Ensemble ratings at WV State University.
This ratings event is not a head-to-head competition per se, but the bands compete for highest ratings. It is possible for multiple bands to have the highest ratings so no one gets trophies or certificates exactly although I suspect there is a good opportunity for bragging rights involved. Individual students can perform solos and small groups can perform as ensembles. Isaac’s school had a representation in both areas.
We took videos of the two performances in which Isaac was involved. We didn’t have an opportunity to hear other performances as a lot of people shuffle in and out, but I am so proud of these shows and am certain that there was much greatness to be heard from the other groups from our school as well as other schools in the region. I don’t know how many groups played exactly, but I would guess around 50! That’s a beautiful thing, I think, for the arts to be so well represented! Yeah band!
Abigail started taking flute lessons in 3rd grade. It’s had its ups and downs but mostly she enjoys playing and she has done very well playing in various school events in elementary school. Now she is in middle school where she is in the school band, a five-days-per-week endeavor. Of course, with a lot more playing time, she has really seen a jump in her ability. Practice makes perfect of course!The other day, her band had the opportunity to play various duets, trios, etc at the local mall. It was packed with shoppers and felt all festivey, especially with the beautiful music the kids played. I am always amazed at the ability of these kids and their band instructor to make kids, many of whom had never touched an instrument, into pretty amazing musicians in a year-and-a half or two years! It’s really wonderful and makes me so proud!
Anyhow, Abigail was (I think) the only 6th grader to play in the group. She had a duet and a trio. I recorded both but the acoustics in the mall along with my position make it harder to hear in the video than it was in real life. Anyhow, I loved hearing the groups play Christmas songs and carols and have a good time!
At the end, they decided to walk to the next stage area over and have a group shot with Santa. He was a pretty good sport!
I can’t believe that Isaac is another year older already! All parents say this I know, but I can’t believe he isn’t still the tiny little baby who had such a horrific start. It seems like yesterday we were learning to ride a bike and here he is about to drive a car! Although he has had some issues, he has grown into a fun and wonderful young man of whom I am so very proud!
Last night we heard his Christmas band concert, and it was a thing of beauty! He is the first chair tenor sax player in his concert band which makes me very proud. He loves to play his horn and with a band that can make music like they can, who wouldn’t love it?!
Anyhow, we celebrated Isaac’s birthday among family the other night and had a great time celebrating both Isaac and his uncle who share a birthday. It’s such a fun and wonderful time as they both get into the party and make it a lot of fun for everyone.
I think as much as anything, I was happy to see Isaac, both at his birthday party and at the band concert, just having fun and making people laugh. His name is Hebrew for laughter and he has always been one to make people comfortable and happy through his laughter and sense of humor. He is one of my true joys and I am so proud to be his father!
Tuesday night was the Majorette and Band Festival where all of the high schools in Kanawha county come to show off their field shows. We joined several hundred other folks in watching 8 great bands play their very best in the University of Charleston stadium.
This is our first year to have a band member on the field and we were super excited for all of the build-up and preparation for this show. The season started with band camp in August where the entire band went away to set up their marching field show and practice their music. It’s amazing how fast (a week!), the band came together to produce a really nice show. Since that time, they practice daily and have refined their show incredibly!
We are very fortunate to have a really great band director who expects a lot from the kids, and leads them demand a lot from themselves. Their pride and hard work that the director instilled in them really showed as they took the field Tuesday. The band exhibited fantastic precision in marching and delivered as crisp a performance as I’ve ever heard/seen. They were in synch and smooth and just looked first-class. I couldn’t be more proud of how these kids performed!
As a special treat, Marshall University’s Marching Thunder performed the finale at the festival and showed the bands at the festival what the next level of play might be for them. They were great and dynamic and made a lot of sound (in a great way) as you would expect from a good sized university band!
Among other songs, they played Big Noise from Winnetka, one of the songs that Isaac’s jazz band played last year…both were great renditions…it was a lot of fun to hear the different takes on the same song. While we were disappointed that our band wasn’t awarded the grand champion trophy, I am so proud of Isaac and his friends and look forward to many more competitions!