WCHS Concert Band performs at OMEA Contest

Chris Lynch, Staff Editor

The WCHS Concert Band, under the direction of band directors Ms. Laura Bukosky and Mr. Brandon Schick, performed on Friday, March 2 at John Legend Theater in Springfield, Ohio for the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) District XII Large Group Contest and received an Excellent (II) rating. The band prepared three pieces and sight read a piece to be critiqued and rated by a panel of judges.

Since early January, when WCHS returned from winter break, the band got to work reading pieces and practicing during seventh period every day. The band also practiced at  a few after school rehearsals, and a preview concert the week before the contest. OMEA requires bands to play three pieces: one march (a song with generally strong, steady rhythms and a particular form), a piece from a list provided by OMEA, and a piece of the director’s choice. The band played “Bonds of Unity” by Karl King arranged by James Swearingen, a pretty straightforward march; “Twittering Machine” by Brian Balmages, inspired by the ambiguous 1922 artwork by Swiss-German painter Paul Klee; and “Majestia” by James Swearingen,  a straightforward concert band piece that combines lush harmonies and lyrical passages with an energetic finale.

Along with the three prepared pieces, the band was required to do a sight reading session. During a sight reading session, the band gets to look at their individual parts for a song they’ve likely never seen before for four minutes in relative silence, the next four minutes are used for the director to talk about the piece (the roadmap, things that should be looked at, particular rhythms, etc.), and then the band performs the piece for a judge. After the band is done, the judge talks to the band about their performance, gives them a few tips and then they leave and wait for their rating to be posted.

The band goes to District Contest to receive written and verbal comments for improvement from qualified and experienced professionals (the judges) and to receive more performance experience. The comments help the director get better at teaching and critiquing themselves so that the students can get better.

While you may have missed out on watching the band for contest, feel free to watch the concert and jazz bands Wednesday, May 16 in the WCHS Guiller auditorium and make sure to come support the band program by participating in the 1st Annual Band Trivia Night on March 16 at WCHS, doors open at 6 p.m, trivia starts at 7 p.m.