Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Multimedia test

January 17, 2010

Stage of talent

Area’s best young musicians perform

ASHLAND--The typical school band spends months practicing the selections for a concert, honing their skills and polishing their performance.

A select group of young musicians, 100 of them from high school bands and the other 100 from middle school, did the whole thing in two days.

The occasion was an annual concert organized by the Kentucky Music Educators Association, which chose the performers from the cream of school bands in 14 counties for its district band concert.

The annual event is not a competition, but students do audition to be a part of it, said Kevin Christie, KMEA’s district 8 band chair and the band director at Rowan County High School.

The chosen musicians gather for two days of intense rehearsal with guest conductors and then perform that weekend. This year’s group played at the Paramount on Saturday.

The middle school group played under the direction of Morehead State University’s associate director of bands Susan Creasap and the high school director was Wayne Markworth, retired as band director at Centerville, Ohio, High School.

The concert is a crowd-pleasing showcase, but the gifted and motivated young players thrive on the two-day whirlwind of rehearsal.

Ask any of them what they want for themselves from the weekend and you will get variations on three simple words: “to get better.”

“Everyone is trying to practice hard because we want to do the best we can do,” said flautist Christian Riley, a Paul Blazer High student. Midway through the day-long rehearsal Friday she already sensed improvement in her work with the group, she said.

The quest for excellence is built into the weekend. The players get to work with other talented student musicians and with guest directors who are tops in their profession, playing more challenging music, Christie said.

And the music is challenging, the musicians say. “We have pieces that go from long and pretty to short and marchy,” said Jennifer Blankenship, who plays the bassoon and attends Boyd County High School.

Students from smaller schools get the rare opportunity to play with a larger group.

A shared love of music and the intense rehearsal schedule shapes a stage full of strangers into a cohesive whole. “They have a sense of community,” Christie said. Or as Blankenship explained, “I get to play with people who love to play as much as I do.”

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2652.

Text Only
Multimedia test
  • 0407dinky_246.jpg Dinky engine is big deal for historical society

    More than half of the spectators watching the delivery of a piece of industrial history here Wednesday were gray-haired and some of them walked with canes.

    April 6, 2011 2 Photos

  • 042710_ACTC_Dedication_077.jpg Governor and legislators laud ACTC new EastPark building

    An investment in the future of northeastern Kentucky and the fulfillment of a dream, envisioned by the Kentucky General Assembly’s approval of the Higher Education Reform Act of 1997, were among the laudatory phrases repeated by several speakers on Monday.

    April 26, 2010 1 Photo 1 Video

  • ACTC Theater Slide Show: ACTC Theatre dazzles "Copacabana” The Musical, a lush tribute to the Technicolor musicals of the 1940s, started at Ashland Community and Technical College on Friday night. The Broadway-style musical fantasy features original songs by Barry Manilow and dazzling costumes, sets and choreography.

    April 10, 2010 1 Photo

  • Corner of Color Burst of color The best sign that spring is about to really take off is already in full bloom at Ashland’s Central Park.

    March 27, 2010 1 Photo

  • Pathway to the Cross Pathway to the cross A church in Huntington is offering a different kind of look at the Easter story this week.

    March 26, 2010 1 Photo

  • AYB Spring Performance Slide Show: Dancing into spring The Ashland Youth Ballet presented its Spring Concert at two shows Tuesday at the Paramount Arts Center.

    March 24, 2010 1 Photo

  • Landfill moving forward Officials hope Cooksey work will cut pollution, end fire hazard An agreement four years in the making has led to work at the former Cooksey Brothers Landfill, which regulators say will reduce pollution and end a long-standing fire hazard at the site.

    March 13, 2010 3 Photos

  • Lady Vikings ousted in state semi Rowan's dream run ends in semifinal Although the fairy tale didn't end with a crown, Rowan County's journey was magical while it lasted.

    The Lady Vikings ran into a merciless Louisville Mercy team that attacked with furious pressure.

    March 13, 2010 1 Photo

  • Rowan Girls Advance to Semifinal round Rowan hits jackpot of Final Four Rowan County set out a lofty goal at the start of the season, but very few teams actually accomplish what the Lady Vikings were going after.

    Four, to be exact.

    March 13, 2010 1 Photo

  • Rowan girls win in first round of Sweet 16 Rowan stingy with Breathitt Rowan County coach Scott Tackett can’t quite put a finger on it, but there is something special about the 2010 Lady Vikings.

    “We may not be the most talented team, but I get a feeling about this team that I don't get a whole lot,” Tackett said. “There’s something special going on here.”

    March 11, 2010 1 Photo