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Band celebrates ‘Music in Our Schools’ with annual winter concert

Sophia Comas, Features Editor

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The 2018 Manhattan High Band Winter Concert showcased the talents of performing arts students and recognized their achievements throughout the school year.

The event, last Tuesday, featured the Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble with each group playing three separate pieces. Unlike last year, the concert saw performances from three bands instead of two.

“I think we counted it up today, it was like 179 or 180 students playing tonight,” Joel Gittle, Director of Bands, said. “That’s a lot.”

The abundance of musicians proved an advantage for the band as more students were able to perform.

The Concert Band began, taking center stage with the piece “Kentucky 1800” by Clare Grundman. Directed by Assistant Band Director Devin Burr, their set combined smooth-sounding melodies with the more upbeat traditional sounds of an American march.

The Symphonic Band quickly followed suit as the second group to play. Directed by Associate Director of Bands Nancy Monical, they performed the piece containing the most movements. Titled “Constellations” by James Curnow, it included three short melodies, starting with “Taurus” and later transitioning to “Andromeda” and “Aquarius.”

Lastly, the concert concluded with a performance from the Wind Ensemble. Beginning with “Sailabration” by Jay Chattaway and ending with classical “Home on the Range,” the band put on a display of skill while simultaneously having fun.

“My favorite part of the concert was at the end of Wind Ensemble’s first piece,” Chris Carter, junior, said. “We had more percussion at the end but the audience just started clapping any way and so we kind of gave it up.”

Before the final song, the directors announced all that was accomplished throughout the year as well as acknowledging certain individuals who had gone above and beyond. It also called attention to the benefits of the performing arts as the month of March is dedicated to “Music in Our Schools.”

“Band has helped increase my focus skills. Well, it increases almost everything really,” Josh Brandt, sophomore, said.

The concert provided members with more experience performing on a stage in front of an audience.

“So the concert provided a basis to all the stuff we’re going to be playing in the future,” Brandt said. “It helps move our fingers faster and make our sound better. It’s just kind of a building block so we can play better music.”

While the band performed well above expectations, there were still a few minor setbacks. “Improvements for Wind Ensemble I would say more moving together as a whole band instead of individual players,” Carter said. “Just making the music go a step further and be an expression of emotion instead of just ink on a page.”

Despite these challenges, the entire band played brilliantly and combined their own unique sounds into something spectacular.

“Outstanding,” Gittle said. “Yeah, the kids were outstanding.”

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Band celebrates ‘Music in Our Schools’ with annual winter concert