Five day frenzy

Pride of the East prepares for first concert season with new band staff


photo credit Addie Orr

Summer dances // Playing the trombone, freshman Thomas Freeman looks up at the director to keep time. The Wind Ensemble played at the Mid Winter concert Feb. 13, preparing for UIL in March.

Leaving the extended marching period, solos and ensembles snuck up on band students giving only four weeks to rehearse until UIL. Surprised at how fast the time flew by, private lesson teachers, directors and students scrambled to prepare, not only for UIL, but for the upcoming Midwinter concert.

Students started the week knowing the chaos that was coming their way. Solos and ensembles were prepared to play Feb. 9 to give musicians a practice run of ensembles before UIL. Performances were in the auditorium and band hall for parents and friends to hear and for band directors to judge. This gave students the chance to earn letterman points and WISD ensemble patches.

“It’s a lot more stressful than I thought it would be but I feel like I handled the whole thing pretty well, although I could’ve done better,” freshman baritone Haley Ford said.

It’s all about the performance which always helps build my musical integrity.”

— Zach Kvale, junior

The following day players went to Rockwall Heath to perform solos and ensembles. Groups strive for a one to earn points and a medal. Those who scored a 1C qualified to compete at State level at the University of Austin May 28.

Soloists who qualified for state are: Junior Wylie Dunham, Zachary Kvale, Brandon Carroll, Freshmen Jumin Ko, Gael Ducoing, and Nathan Tompkins. Sophomore Spencer Armstrong and senior Sarai Gutierrez

Ensembles that advanced include:

Flute quartet: Caitlin Braun, Jessie Davis, junior Elizabeth Morgan and Emily Steiner. Saxophone quartet: Sarah Avila, Esteban Figueroa, Nathan Goff and Ryan Schuster. Woodwind quintet: Jonah Branch, Saverio Cimino, Isabel Herrera, Ashton Wagner and Michael Wiseman. Woodwind quintet: Mary harkins, Grace Kingston, Ahyeon Ko, Jayden Norman and Haley Spiegel. Flute choir: Athena Ensign, lizabeth Forte, Mariah Gonzalez, Jayme Lamb, Annie Philip, Abigail Rangel and Erin Schuster. Clarinet Choir: Wesley Craig, Wylie Dunham, Joseph Edgin, Kaitlin Hanguyen, Cody Layne, Jordyn Moore, Ryan Rodarte and Dylan Smith. Tuba/euphonium quartet: Spencer Armstrong, McKinley Bennett, Jazmine Garcia and Adam Orr. Five brass: Taylor Davis, Zachary Kvale, Seth Ragsdale, Caed Rodgers and Ashlyn Stewart.

“It’s all about the performance which always helps build my musical integrity,” junior tuba Zach Kvale said.

Coming back to school on Monday, the band hosted A&M Commerce Feb. 12.  Musicians were given the opportunity to listen to the wind ensemble, furthering their understanding of how to  perform at a professional level. Concluding the concert, high school students introduced themselves to college musicians. Students took the chance to ask questions about the future in music and how to practice.

“It was an amazing experience. It was awesome that we were given the chance to get the college perspective of band,” sophomore sousaphone Spencer Armstrong said.

All of this led up to the Mid Winter concert where students played their second concert of the year in the auditorium Feb. 13. All four bands performed high level music that could possibly be rehearsed for UIL in March. The UIL contest will consist of each band playing three pieces of music and sight reading a piece they’ve never seen before in 30 minutes. The Wind Ensemble got the chance to practice a mock sight reading after their performance on stage.

“It really helps the director know what to prepare for in the future so we can get a perfect score,” sophomore French horn Enoch Olaimi said.

While the Wind Ensemble was doing their mock contest, the rest of the band sat in the audience to listen to the Wind Symphony program. The band prepared a difficult program, challenging the ability of musicians.

“They have the potential to do amazing things, and I think they’re only now starting to see it,” Hayes said.

The band played “March to the Scaffold” by Hector Berlioz, “Morning Star” by David Maslanka, and “The Melody Shop” by Karl King. The first piece told the story of the composer who killed his lover, the entire piece goes through his nightmare ending with him being executed by a Guillotine. The next piece was played in honor of David Maslanka, a famous composer who recently died Aug. 7. Soloists seniors Seth Ragsdale, Mckinley Bennett, Mary Harkins and junior Zach Kvale played the music to their best ability.

“March to the Scaffold is my favorite. It’s really easy to visualize the story line and how it’s kind of dark and tragic,” French horn Harkins said.

Taking the audience by surprise, the concert ended with “The Melody Shop”. “The March” gave senior McKinley Bennett and sophomore Jazmine Garcia a chance to show off, featured on the euphonium. Throughout the entire piece, euphonium players were thrown various melodies that challenged them in musicality and technique.

“It’s challenging music but it only made me want to play it more,” Bennett said.

Ending the trio (a section of the music), the two took the audience by surprise when they left the ensemble in opposite directions mid -piece. Meeting below the stage, on the carpet, they played the euphonium feature meant to be impossible.  

“Euphonium players never have the chance to step out into the spotlight so to be featured like this really was special,” Bennett said

The Royals Winter Guard performed their show titled “The Last Moment” in the Auxiliary gym. The show followed the events of Pompeii and the destruction that came when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Their next competition is at Wakeland High School March 3.