Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 16, 2011

All-District bands perform

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — Roughly 200 middle and high school musicians took the stage Saturday to show off the fruits of their hard work and practice.

The Kentucky Music Educators Association’s District 8 All-District Band concert took place at the Paramount Arts Center.

Between 250 and 275 students from 15 northeastern Kentucky school districts auditioned for the band in November and the top students were selected.

There were about 100 students each in the middle and high school bands. Both groups began rehearsing on Thursday, said Annie Johnson, middle school band chair.

Johnson teaches band at Boyd County Middle School and said four of her five students who auditioned for the group were selected for it.

The middle school band played five selections, three of them by composer David Shaffer. The high school group performed several selections from “West Side Story” and one from Mozart’s “Concerto in B Flat Major.”

The middle school group was conducted by Jack Walker, a retired band director from London, while Dr. Richard Miles, director of bands at Morehead State University, conducted the high schoolers.

Some of the students in the high school band will play in the KMEA All-State Band, which will perform in February.

The honors band program is beneficial even for students who are not selected for it, said Eddie Prichard, band director at Russell Middle School.

“The students can take away things from this, that when they go back to their own bands, it makes them even better,” he said.

The experience of being in an  honors band also allows students to play with a larger musical group than they usually get to play with and it gives them a chance to play music that is more challenging than their usual fare, Prichard said.

Prichard said a dozen of his students auditioned for the all-district band and 11 were chosen.

This year’s honors band experience also included a performance on Friday by The Wright Brass, a group of about 15 brass musicians and percussionists who are members of the United States Air Force Band of Flight from Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.