Wind Ensemble to perform at MMEA convention


photo by Mikaela Acton

Graham Ratermann

[dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]T[/dropcap]he band program recently heard a sweet melody as the wind ensemble has been selected to perform at the prestigious Missouri Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop held Jan. 28-31 at the Tan-Tar-A resort in Osage Beach.
Near the end of last school year, the wind ensemble began the audition process for performing at the MMEA convention. Before June 1 the band had to submit a recording with three pieces. The recording is taken out of state to a selection committee that analyzes the piece. The recording is reviewed with the name of the school being withheld and only an assigned number representing the school. Elementary through collegiate bands are able to send in a tape. Of the 65 high school bands that submitted tapes, only seven were selected to perform at the conference.
“It’s difficult because most bands don’t send one in unless they think they have a good shot,” Steve Mathews, the wind ensemble director, said. “Your chances are more that you won’t make it then you will be selected.”

“It’s difficult because most bands don’t send one in unless they think they have a good shot,” Steve Mathews, the wind ensemble director, said.”

Other selected high school ensembles include Jefferson, Kearney, Lindbergh, Orrick and Timberland.
“When you’re looking at MMEA, every high school in the state can audition for it,” senior percussionist Jared Meyer said. “So being one of the few high schools that get selected to go in front of an audience that actually knows what they’re listening to is not only an honor, it’s a little scary, but I think it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Being selected for MMEA is nothing new for RBHS. In 2010 RBHS’s wind ensemble’s performance at MMEA was very well received, drawing a standing ovation. In 2013, the jazz ensemble’s performance received favorable reviews from those in attendance.
“The audience is music teachers so they’re critics,” Mathews said.
With the prestige of the event comes added pressure. Even though it is currently competitive marching season, wind ensemble has started holding additional rehearsals. Mathews also plans on bringing in collegiate level directors to clinic the ensemble and to get a different perspective.
Normally district band tryouts are in March, but MMEA in January will force wind ensemble members to reach a higher level of playing earlier.
“The expectations are higher for Rock Bridge just like a lot of our other programs here at school, like athletics, speech and debate or culinary,” Mathews said. “The expectations are high, and I don’t think it’s so much the expectations I put the kids; I think a lot of it is they know, and they put the expectation on themselves.”