Music To Our Ears

Band members transition to concert season

Emilee Holscher, Web Editor

During the fall season, the Blue Valley marching band leads the student body in the fight song during assemblies, performs their competitive show during half-time and helps keep the BV spirit alive during the football games.

However, starting second semester, the marching band takes a step off the turf and enters a different atmosphere.

At the end of marching season, students audition for the concert season.

No matter what skill level, each student received the same packet to practice for auditions. At the audition, students play an excerpt, perform chromatic scales and complete sight reading.

The musicians are then divided into two different bands depending on their skill level — Symphonic Band and Concert Band.

Symphonic Band

Symphonic Band consists of 45 students and is led by director Avian Bear.

Senior Nathan Schuler, a fourth-chair trumpet player, said Symphonic Band is not all that different from Concert Band, but Symphonic Band performs more pieces that are of a higher difficulty than Concert Band.

“It’s a higher skill level, so it’s harder music,” Schuler said.

Schuler said this is his second time making Symphonic Band, but the audition process was still nerve-wracking.

“Once I found out I made it, it was a relief, but I was also pretty excited because we have a really good group this year,” Schuler said. “We have such a good group of players that I wasn’t sure I’d make it.”

Although both bands are given different opportunities to display their talents, the Symphonic Band was asked to play for the board of KMEA, Kansas Music Educators Association.

Only a few of the top bands in Kansas get the privilege to perform the pieces they’ve been working on at KMEA.

“We want to show other directors in our state that we can play our instruments well and to put on a really good performance for everyone that will be there,” Schuler said.

Concert Band

In Concert Band, the students practice new music for each upcoming concert, as well as scales that they play individually to their director, Carol Lowman, for a part of their grade. This year, 63 students are in Concert Band.

Senior Becca King, a second-chair clarinet player in Concert Band, said she was extremely nervous for auditions.

“I got in there, and my hands were shaking,” she said. “It was hard for me to play.”

During the spring, they go to BV Southwest to play for judges and get a rating on their [performances] one through three — one being the best and three needing improvement.

“We work on the music a while before contest, and then we go to Southwest and get ratings,” King said. “You’re not really rated against the other schools. It’s you as a school that gets rated.”

Lowman has been the assistant band director for seven years at BV, and this will be her final one.

“I love having her as a teacher. I’m actually excited to be in Concert Band so I can be with her for her last year,” King said. “She has a really kind aura.”

For King’s senior year, she said she looks forward to see the Concert Band improve.

“I’m excited to see how the band progresses throughout the year and how everybody works together to make entertaining music.”