All-county band concert tonight

First Posted: 11/23/2009

Showcasing some of the countys best and brightest musicians, tonights concert is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Once again, the top middle school and high school band students from across the county will come together to perform a free concert at Mount Airy High School.
Having only two days to rehearse the pieces, the middle and high school bands will perform four or five pieces each. After auditioning last Saturday, around 60 students qualified to participate in each of the two bands. They spent Monday night and will spend most of the day today practicing and perfecting the musical selections before taking to the stage at 7 p.m.
The middle school band is made up of students from Central Middle, Elkin Middle, Gentry Middle, Meadowview Middle, Mount Airy Middle and Pilot Mountain Middle schools.
These students are getting a taste of classical music in preparation for high school as well as learning how to come together with different students to play.
Its fun. Were getting to meet new people and play new songs, said Savannah Shew, eighth grader at Central Middle.
Its pretty cool since we get to play with different people, said Jeremy Dickson, seventh grader at Central Middle. Im excited about the concert, but it kind of makes me scared because we have two days to learn five songs.
The challenge will help the students in their normal band classes because of the skills they pick up in sight-reading, playing a piece through for the first time.
The high school band is made up of students from East Surry, Elkin, Mount Airy, North Surry and Surry Central high schools. These students have found the experience challenging as they are playing mostly classical music.
Its more difficult that I expected. Its more fast-paced and more is expected of us, said Olivia Henley, ninth grader at North Surry.
Were playing a couple of marches and some lyrical pieces. Were learning some fun ones, too, said Brandon Cochran, senior at Mount Airy High. I think the concert will be good.
Playing in the all-county band also helps prepare students for the possibility of playing in an all-district band. The auditions for that are in January and the county usually has about 10 students who make one of the bands.
Everyone cooperates and watches and wants the best results, said Erica Riska, 11th grader at North Surry.
Its a better learning experience since we are all playing together, said Jacob White, seventh grader at Central Middle.
Its fun to play with people who actually care about band, said Daniel Hatcher, ninth grader at Mount Airy High. This is my third year doing it, and its really good.
The students also get the chance to work with guest conductors as opposed to the directors they see on a regular basis. As different people have different techniques, it broadens the students experiences to work with new people.
Margorie Harrison is the guest conductor for the middle school band. She is the director of bands at Ledford Middle School. Dr. John Ross is the high school director and is the director of bands at Appalachian State University.
Since this is the cream of the crop, the music is more advanced than what theyre used to playing. Its a little more challenging, said Mike Hyde, band director at Surry Central. The focus is on classical to give them good quality literature to read.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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