RBHS musicians to play world premier with district band


Emily Franke

[vc_custom_heading text=”Bruins sweep competition, seat high numbers” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Istok%20Web%3Aregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”]Saturday morning, while other students enjoyed a day off, around 40 musicians dressed up, grabbed their instruments and hurried off to RBHS to catch a bus to the North East Missouri All District Band auditions at Moberly High School. Following months of preparation, a five minute audition determined who earned a coveted seat in the district jazz and either the district or honorable mention concert bands.
[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_custom_heading text=”District Audition Results” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Istok%20Web%3Aregular%2Citalic%2C700%2C700italic|font_style:700%20bold%20italic%3A700%3Aitalic”][spoiler title=”District Band” open=”no” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
  • Matt Hoeppner, 1st Chair Flute
  • Emily Franke, 8th Chair Flute
  • Kerri Mathews, 1st Chair Oboe
  • Mickey Jamieson, 9th Chair Clarinet
  • Tricia Carver-Horner, 11th Chair Clarinet
  • Emily Vu, 4th Chair Alto Saxophone
  • Aaron McCray, 3rd Chair Trumpet
  • Christian Candia, 11th Chair Trumpet
  • Martin Shapiro, 1st Chair Horn
  • Allie Rogers, 3rd Chair Horn
  • Matt Orf, 1st Chair Trombone
  • Stephanie Stanley, 3rd Chair Trombone
  • Richard Shang, 1st Chair Percussion, Mallet Option
  • Connor Squellati, 2nd Chair Percussion, Mallet Option
  • Cassie Kiew, 3rd Chair Percussion, Mallet Option
[/spoiler] [spoiler title=”District Honorable Mention Band” open=”no” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
  • Kaitlyn Smith, 1st Chair Flute (1st District Band Alternate)
  • Caitlyn Hulett, 7th Chair Flute
  • Stephanie Zhang, 8th Chair Flute
  • Ilinca Popescu, 2nd Chair Oboe (2nd District Band Alternate)
  • Olivia McKee, 2nd Chair Tenor Sax
  • Louis Hendricks, 2nd Chair Bari Saxophone
  • Robby Schmidt, 6th Chair Trumpet
  • Jackson Griebel, 2nd Chair Tuba
  • Justin Washington, 2nd Chair Percussion Snare Option
[/spoiler] [spoiler title=”District Jazz Band” open=”no” style=”fancy” icon=”chevron”]
  • Matt Hoeppner, 2nd Chair Tenor Saxophone
  • Louis Hendricks, Bari Saxophone
  • Aaron McCray, 1st Chair Trumpet
  • Christian Candia, 4th Chair Trumpet
  • Stephanie Stanley, 1st Chair Trombone
  • Emily Vu, Guitar
  • Martin Shapiro, Piano
  • Mickey Jamieson, Bass Guitar
  • Cole Walker, 1st Honorable Mention Jazz Saxophone
  • Matt Orf, 1st Honorable Mention Jazz Trombone
[/spoiler][/vc_column_inner]Those auditioning on district jazz repeated the audition process for two separate auditions. When a particular room heard every instrumentalist’s audition, judges calculated scores and posted sheets with the results in the main commons. Out of the 40 auditioning RBHS musicians, 25 individuals made a band: 15 made district band, 9 made district honorable mention and 10 made the district jazz band, with 9 out of 10 also playing in one of the two concert bands and only one individual playing in jazz only.
“I think the band did very well. [RBHS] got a lot of first chairs and I think there was a high percentage of kids [from the band program] that did audition,” head band director Steve Mathews said. “The next four weeks those that make it into district band now, a lot of the students will really step it up because they know that the competition’s going to be pretty tough and we’ll get a few Rock Bridge kids in [state], I’m assuming based on past practice.”[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner]With 40 students auditioning and over 50 percent making an ensemble, RBHS had a high percentage of participation at the district level this year. Additionally, northeast Missouri Music Educators Association Vice President of high school bands Jordan Perry said this year had a record high for auditioning musicians. Over the past fifteen years on average 365 musicians audition at Moberly, he said, and this year 389 musicians auditioned; out of these 389, only 90 earned a spot in either concert ensemble.
“Northeast District Band has got a kind of a reputation of being one of the best district bands in the state. We have a lot of schools, we’re the largest district because of the geographic layout of this area – we go all the way to the Iowa line –  there’s a lot of smaller schools but then we also have Kirksville, Hannibal, Troy Buchanan, the Columbia schools,” Perry said. “We have a large demographic pool to pull in, so we have a great band every year, all the directors say that this is one of the best bands they ever get to work with.”
For freshman Ilinca Popescu, this first year of auditions provided experience for future years.
“I think I did pretty well despite the fact that I was just a little bit nervous with the jitters because [it was my] first time auditioning for districts. I didn’t know how it would go,” Popescu said. To get over the jitters, “I actually just thought that I was there for the experience and I was performing for myself. I was there only one time and then I’d only come back three more times, so I might as take the best of the shot I had.”
After warming up in Moberly High School’s cafeteria, Popescu lined up outside of instrument-specific classrooms along with musicians from across Northeastern Missouri, all waiting anywhere from five minutes to a few hours for their turn to audition. Those who placed in the district band or as an alternate to the district band now have the opportunity to audition for the state ensembles at Hickman High School on Dec. 6.
“I got second chair in honor band out of six oboes but I guess that’s pretty good considering all the other people who were above me were seniors,” Popescu said.To prepare for state, Popescue will “practice so much that my fingers are gonna burn off, [there are] so many scales to learn, so many etudes to extend – because it’s like the same etudes but you have to learn more – and just more private lessons.”
Following auditions, members of the concert bands played through music for their Jan. 10 performance at Moberly High School. Perry said he is always amazed by how much work gets done in just two days of rehearsal. This year, Dr. Bradley Snow and Dr. Brain Silvey, director and assistant director of bands at University Missouri, will direct the District and the District Honorable Mention bands, respectively. This is his first time working with the band, and Snow said he looked at previous years to choose the program.
“I look at previous years’ programs and kind of see what the level of the ensemble is based on previous years’ programs, and then honestly it’s kind of a just a guess to see what the band can do,” Snow said. “I’m looking forward to the Groove Music and I’m also looking forward to this brand new piece of music by Holsinger. It’s always fun to see the growth over the two days of rehearsal, going from where we start today to the finished product at the concert.”
By Emily Franke[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator color=”grey” style=”double”][vc_custom_heading text=”District band to premier famous composer’s newest piece” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Abril%20Fatface%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”]As the largest geographical district, the Northeast Missouri District band has a reputation for excellence, NEMMEA high school vice president Jordan Perry said, and over the years visiting directors have said NEMO is one of the best district bands to work with. For such a great band, Perry said, the next logical step would be to commission a piece for the band to play.
Over one year ago, Perry and the NEMMEA contacted composer Dr. David R. Holsinger, a Missouri native, asking him to honor the band by composing a piece just for the band. After NEMMEA’s committee of directors voted, they raised the money and contacted Holsinger. NEMMEA paid $5,000 for the piece, Perry said. Three months ago, Holsinger sent Perry Deborah’s Triumph/Jael’s Revenge as a MIDI file, a file created through the musical instrumental digital interface software.
[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner]“I listened to it and, not that I had to give it approval or anything, but I listened to it and said yeah that’s satisfactory with me, that’s great, and he sent me the actual parts.Then I sent the score to Dr. Snow so he could study it because hes never seen it before either,” Perry said. Saturday was “the first time it’s ever been actually performed with real instruments.”
Holsinger also composed works including The Chase, The Pride of Buxmont, and a number of hymns according to TRN Music Publisher, inc. Head band director Steve Mathews said he has programmed a number of Holsinger’s pieces throughout his career in the recent years with the RBHS Wind Ensemble and Symphonic.[/vc_column_inner]french-horn-madelyn-stewart[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner]Holsinger said his inspiration for this piece, like many of his past compositions, came from an adventurous story in the Old Testament where “right” prevailed.
“I thought it was about time I wrote a piece inspired by a female warrior heroine from the Old Testament. As it was, I found two who changed the course of history in their era,” Holsinger said. “Deborah was a prophetess, a speaker of wisdom in the Book of Judges. Her land is being invaded by a giant named Sisera, who commands an army of iron chariots.Of course, his iron charioteers were invincible and had conquered many nations already. Deborah has a somewhat ragtag army of ‘volunteers’ who are, on the face of it, no match for Sisera.”
However, he said, Deborah tricks the giant’s army into attacking her across a marshland, causing their boots become heavy with mud, and Deborah’s army demolishes the trapped invaders. Following this triumph, Sisera escapes and finds refuge with a nomadic woman named Jael.
“True to the custom of her time, Jael feeds the troubled stranger who comes to her home,” Holsinger said. “However, some accounts indicate that he physically assaulted Jael a number of times and when he fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael took a tent peg and drove it through his skull, killing him. She was hailed as a national heroine by the pursuing forces led by Deborah and her general, Barak, and her name is still celebrated in the history of her land.”
The piece was written before the band was chosen, Holsinger said, so the makeup of the district band was not a factor in the composition. However, NEMMEA asked Holsinger to write a certain grade level, a standard measurement of difficulty in band music ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 6. Holsinger wrote Deborah’s Triumph/Jael’s Revenge on a 4 plus level for band literature. After hearing the band read through the piece Saturday, Perry looks forward to the premier at the district band concert on Jan. 10 at Moberly High School.
“I think it’s a very exciting dynamic piece of music,” Perry said. “I imagine once it’s published it will be very popular.”
By Emily Franke[/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner]