On and in front of the stage were students of every grade prepared to show off their cumulative skills and hard work from the past year. An audience of friends and families sat before them, ready to witness the final band performance of the 2017-2018 school year, and close out the season with a “final hoorah,” as junior Hannah Stephenson called it. Each band was met with applause and cheering after each piece, setting in the feeling of success and pride for the band members as they closed their year, and some of them, their high school careers as a whole.
The evening of Tuesday May 1st, 2018 marked the final performance of the University High School band for the school year, and for some began the climb to next year’s performances. Their concert took preparation that began months in advance, even back as far as the summer of 2017. While pieces such as Symphony were practiced since Bands Of America in Indianapolis, Indiana in March, some pieces were prepared in only a few weeks.
“We got Redline Tango last minute, so we couldn’t play it at BOA because it was way too hard to play and put together in that short amount of time,” sophomore Madison Miller said. “We got like three weeks to put it together [for this concert], and we put it together pretty good.”
The setlist for the concert was the hardest setlist the band has ever put together, according to freshman Kenneth Victoria. The final piece they played was a piece that was not typically performed by high school bands for its high difficulty, but that did not stop the band from doing just that.
“It’s really quite outstanding to see a band program playing these types of songs,” Victoria said. “Most of the song, you cant think about it like counting numbers like you usually would, you have to sort of feel the music. For the most part it’s more about the feeling, just knowing when to come in, knowing what sounds right even when it doesn’t necessarily sound right. It’s organized chaos, thats what that piece is.”
Parents and other guests who attended to support the band also enjoyed the piece, and some of the comments by parents reinforced students’ ideas of how well they performed.
“My dad said the last piece, Redline Tango, sounded really good, and coming from someone who doesn’t really know anything from a musical aspect, it was really cool to hear that,” junior Marissa Cintron said. “I don’t have the best confidence in the world, so hearing that from my parents and other peers, it makes me feel a little bit better about my playing.”
Some audience members drove long distances to see their friends and family members perform their final concert on stage for the school year. Even the audience members that came from nearby provided support for band members like junior Kerri Ernest that found their presence uplifting.
“I saw Mr. Pender come in, and I was thinking about Dr. Jones being in there, and all of our friends, and my grandparents, [who] drove an hour to this concert, so it was cool and neat to think about all of the different people who are out in the audience, and I’m always really happy with the outcome,” Ernest said
During the concert, in between pieces, band director David Martin paused and took a moment to honor the seniors that would be leaving the band and asked them to stand up. The applause thundered and the seniors had a moment to reflect on the past four years of their life.
“That seems like a long time but it goes by so fast, and you go through so many things, so just to stand up there and show everyone that I did that is just a big accomplishment,” senior Alayna Petersen said. “As a senior, I get to look and take a step back, [and] I’m really proud of just how far we’ve come as a band together. [It] makes me sad to go, but happy to see where they’re going as a band.”
The band members were relieved that the season concluded and began to relax and unwind before the beginning of preparation for the next season. The concert proved to be a successful end to a long season with reassuring words from friends, family members, and Mr. David Martin who all enjoyed the performance as a whole.