Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Australian Visitors

During the week of March 8-12, we were thrilled to host a talented group of musicians from the Ringwood Secondary College near Melbourne, Australia. Berkley was the group's only stop in the US! Their other destinations on their month-long tour included Canada, England, and Thailand.

While at Berkley, the 42 students stayed with our band, choir, orchestra, and student leadership students and got to see a Red Wings game as well as sight-see in Detroit. On Friday the 12th, they put on 3 excellent performances for students and community members. The theme of the performance was "This is Melbourne, Australia."

Please see the pictures and video below:

Guest Artists

On Wednesday, March 23, the BHS Symphonic Band was treated to performances by some excellent local musicians. We called the event "Chamber Music Day," with the hope of inspiring students to form small groups together. Our very own BHS Brass Quintet also performed!

Shown in the photos are the "Northstar Saxophone Quartet" and the "Oakland Brass Band Brass Quintet." Thanks to all who came!

On Wednesday, March 23, the BHS Symphonic Band was treated to performances by some phenomenal professional musicians. We called the event "Chamber Music Day," with the goal of demonstrating the fun of playing in a small ensemble.

Festival and State S&E Wrap-Up

It's spring break, and as I sit on my couch I realize it's time to do a festival wrap-up.

Four of the BSD bands attended District Festival on March 19-20, and all had successful experiences. The 7th grade band attended for comments only and were given helpful advice. The 8th graders improved on their ratings last year, working very hard to achieve a "I" rating in the sight-reading room and a "II" overall. What's most remarkable about their sight-reading score is the environment in which they played. When we got to the room, we didn't have all the right percussion equipment. Then the bells were upside down in their case and almost fell out all over the floor. We were given the wrong music to sight-read. Finally, the judge took a time out to ice the kicker and hecklers shouted "Noonan!" But the kids persevered and stayed focused!

The high schoolers had a mixed bag experience. The concert band got their first ever "I" rating in the sight-reading room, and a "II" rating overall. They have shown improvements each year, and hope to hunt down their first overall "I" next spring. The symphonic band did not match their overall "I" from last year, instead equaling the ratings of both concert band and the 8th grade band. It was a good learning experience for both me and the band, as it reminded us of the dangers of choosing a very difficult piece. It can be a great learning experience, but can sometimes be just beyond your grasp and make for a slightly tentative performance.

We had a great showing at State Solo and Ensemble festival on March 27. All high school soloists received a "I" rating, and ensembles did great! They are:

Nick Rifel (trumpet): qualified for MYAF with a score of 97
Shelby Chessman (trumpet): score of 91 in Proficiency I
Mark Jones (euphonium): score of 89 in Proficiency III
Megan Gilson (flute): score of 89 in Proficiency I
Matt Germaine (trombone): score of 92 in Proficiency I
Daniel Okun (tuba): score of 86 in Proficiency I
BHS Brass Quintet (Nick Rifel, Alissa Rowe, Chelsea Rowe, Matt Germaine, Mark Jones): I rating
Katie Murphy & Sarah Shaw (clarinet duet): II rating

Great job to all who participated.