by Katie Burris
Beaverton High School’s band program is a longstanding tradition that, over the years, has placed a love of music in generations of students hearts. Today, Beaverton’s band program is small but mighty, suffering losses of students to the boundary changes. However, students still work hard to perfect their songs and showcase them to their families and peers.
On February 21st, the band program put one of their annual concerts to showcase the music they are working to perfect for the upcoming festival season. As always, the jazz band opened the concert, playing fun selections to warm up the audience.
Concert Band followed with the piece they’ve been working on, entitled “Carolina Legend” by James Swearingen. This is a joyful, peppy song that is more of an impressive feat considering that Concert Band is missing sections of their ensemble. Even without the low brass instruments, they were able to create a blend of sound that delighted the audience.
Next, Symphonic Band took the stage to play the song “Aventura” by James Swearingen. This is another upbeat song that allows me to imagine myself trekking through the wilderness.
Due to their low numbers, Concert and Symphonic Band came together to play the next two songs. Impressively, neither band had been able to practice the songs all the way through together before getting on stage, but managed to sound as if they had been practicing together for weeks. The first of their two pieces was “Sparks” by Brian Balmages. As described, the song reminds us that sparks are one small thing that can create a big reaction. After the triumphant finish for this song, the conjoined band followed with a classic entitled, “The Great Locomotive Chase” by Robert W. Smith. With a consistent beat, the song tells the story of a military raid during the Civil War, in which Union soldiers were pursued by Confederate trains after they wreaked havoc on the vital Confederate railroad. The conjoined band nails the piece and earns a rowdy round of applause before leaving the stage for Wind Ensemble.
Beaverton’s Wind Ensemble is the top-tier band class offered at this high school. In the spring, students compete at festivals by playing their songs for judges who score them based on a multitude of technique and ability criteria. The songs they play at this concert are the ones they will hopefully present to important members of Oregon’s band music scene.
The first song is “First Swedish Rhapsody” by Erik Leidzen. This is Wind Ensembles hardest piece – and their newest. Despite receiving the music only two weeks ago, the song is cleanly executed and captures the attention of the audience. Following that, the band plays “Grace of Being” and “Holst’s E flat suite Intermezzo March”, both songs that receive hearty rounds of applause when finished. The hard work these students have put into their craft has paid off, and they seem confident to take these pieces to festivals with them.
Before they do that though, Beaverton High School’s choir and band programs will be going to Disneyland as apart of the Disney Performing Arts program. There, students will have the opportunity to work on and play classic Disney songs, as well as perform inside the park for visitors. This is an exclusive opportunity that Beaverton has partaken in every four years, and students are getting amped to participate.
So send your good luck to Beaverton band as they travel to Disney and partake in festivals all over Oregon this spring. Don’t forget to catch this excellent part of Beaverton High School at their next concert on May 21st!