By DONNA HARRIS
A musical ensemble at Woodland Excessive College can so as to add two extra honors to the band program’s storied resume.
The Woodland Wind Symphony has been invited to take part as a performing ensemble in two of probably the most esteemed musical occasions in Georgia.
The 50-member symphony, made up of brass and woodwind devices in addition to percussion, was certainly one of seven highschool teams from throughout the state chosen to carry out just about on the 2021 Georgia Music Educators Affiliation In-Service Convention Jan. 28-30 and was invited again to carry out stay on the 2022 occasion subsequent January at The Traditional Heart in Athens.
“Being invited to carry out at GMEA is probably the most prestigious invitation a band can obtain within the state of Georgia,” WHS Director of Bands Michael Kobito mentioned. “This occasion is taken into account with such excessive status as a result of solely the highest band applications within the state apply. From that group, they solely take a small quantity. It’s a efficiency for the entire different music educators within the state, making it excessive strain and excessive profile.”
The ensemble — primarily consisting of juniors and seniors however together with one freshman and some sophomores — additionally was initially invited to do a digital efficiency for the College of Georgia’s January Band Pageant, generally known as Janfest, however that invitation was later altered, based on Kobito.
“UGA requested us to be a featured ensemble in 2022 in order that our college students get to carry out stay for an actual viewers,” he mentioned. “We discovered about Janfest in the summertime whereas issues have been nonetheless unclear with the pandemic. We’re excited that they determined to permit us to carry out stay subsequent yr as an alternative of just about this yr. There are sometimes 1000’s of scholars from across the Southeast at this occasion, and UGA’s live performance corridor is a surprising venue to play in.”
Kobito, who’s assisted by Affiliate Director of Bands Holly Maldonado, mentioned the wind symphony has carried out on the in-service convention twice up to now.
“Enjoyable truth, the primary time, I used to be a pupil within the ensemble; the second time, I used to be a visitor conductor whereas I labored at a unique faculty; and this time, I’ll be taking the group because the director of bands,” he mentioned.
The symphony additionally participated in Janfest as soon as earlier than, and, as a pupil at UGA, Kobito noticed the group’s efficiency there.
To be thought-about for each occasions, Kobito mentioned he needed to submit recordings of the group, a biography of the band program and “our plan of what we needed to current and carry out” to the elected leaders of GMEA for the convention and to the administrators at UGA for Janfest.
For the digital in-service efficiency, Kobito mentioned he took video recordings of performances and recording periods that happened final semester.
“The scholars took on the problem of high-level literature very severely and put collectively an important recording,” he mentioned. “I’m so happy with them for working so exhausting in direction of this, regardless that it wasn’t the efficiency alternative we have been anticipating. As musicians, taking part in for an viewers is invigorating. Musicians feed off of the vitality of the viewers so this expertise with out a actual viewers was undoubtedly difficult in that means.”
The symphony’s first quantity within the efficiency was known as “Firefly” by Ryan George.
“This piece is all about creativeness and creativity, one thing all of us wanted and employed as we went via the powerful occasions the pandemic precipitated for us,” Kobito mentioned.
The second piece was “A Motion for Rosa” by Mark Camphouse, which was written to commemorate Rosa Parks “for all she did to struggle for equality in the course of the civil rights motion,” the director mentioned.
The group’s third quantity was “Aurora Awakes” by John Mackey.
“This was simply the toughest piece we ready and probably the most rewarding,” Kobito mentioned. “The scholars labored so exhausting to make this piece come to life, and the recording confirmed that.”
The ultimate piece, “most likely probably the most well-known march on the market,” was “Stars and Stripes Eternally” by John Philip Sousa.
“Everybody is aware of it for its iconic melody and basic piccolo solo within the melody,” Kobito mentioned. “We put our personal spin on it, although, having a tuba participant play the piccolo solo on sousaphone. [Senior] Avery Pittman was the tuba soloist in that piece.”
The director mentioned the songs he selected for the digital efficiency all “have a good time artistry, creativity, bravery and triumph, the issues I imagine our college students wanted to assist get via this yr.”
“It was such a pleasure to place this program along with these college students, and I’m excited to get to organize a complete new program for subsequent yr’s GMEA In-Service Convention and UGA’s Janfest,” he mentioned. “Having our program and our college students obtain this sort of recognition for 2 years in a row is one thing I’m happy with and excited for.”