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The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

Band together

Band+does+many+competitions+and+concerts+throughout+the+year.+The+most+recent+concert+was+the+pre-MPA+concert+on+Feb.+28.
photo by Hagerty Yearbook
Band does many competitions and concerts throughout the year. The most recent concert was the pre-MPA concert on Feb. 28.

Once the mass appeal of football season is over, band disappears from the school view, radio-silent according to the general public. However, this is far from the truth—from competitions to concerts, band students are kept busy all year long, strengthening the bonds between bandmates. With all the time spent in rehearsals and class, students are bound to look for more opportunities to perform together.  

On Feb. 28, concert and symphonic band, as well as the wind ensemble had their practice Musical Performance Assessment, a competition where each band section and their conductor are evaluated based on how well they can perform a set number of music pieces. A typical MPA performance has three songs that each band has practiced for weeks, and then two sight-readings, where students are given music to play that they have never seen before. Each band prepares for this by spending three minutes practicing the notes by ‘sizzling’—or, humming and sounding out the notes to commit them to memory. 

Each band is assigned a march and two other pieces, which are decided based on the difficulty level of the music. There is a classification system that tells the directors what level of music they have to pick.

“The two pieces get decided according to the things we’re working on in each band class,” band director Brad Kuperman said. 

The pre-MPA concert showcased the three band sections performing a march and two other songs each, as well as sight-reading to practice for their upcoming show. Each piece had been practiced once a week for a month in preparation. The pre MPA concert allows for band members to have valuable practice time, and for parents to view the performances. 

MPA is not band’s only competition. In February, students have the opportunity to compete in Solo and Ensemble, where those interested are given a piece of music to perform in front of a group of judges. Students are allowed to do multiple performances with various instruments, as well as a small ensemble performance. These performances are then ranked, on a range from Superior to Poor.  Twenty-three students competed this year, with the band earning an overall rating of Superior.

I try to do as many events as possible in Solo and Ensemble. I’ve done three events every year since seventh grade, except for this year when I only did two due to scheduling complications.

— Anthony Acevedo, 12

“I try to do as many events as possible in Solo and Ensemble. I’ve done three events every year since seventh grade, except for this year when I only did two due to scheduling complications,” senior Anthony Acevedo, who has earned Superiors on every event he has participated in, said. 

However, band isn’t only about competitions and practice. Students are able to go to new places and have fun as a community through the class trips. Band will travel to Washington D.C. from April 10-14 to perform in the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Previously, the band performed in D.C.’s Thanksgiving parade, as well as traveling to Germany in 2019 to celebrate the holidays.

To be selected for the Cherry Blossom Festival, the band directors had to send out a biography of performances, as well as information about the current band program. 

“They select bands from all over the country, and the parade itself will actually start rehearsals next week,” Kuperman said. “We’ll do music rehearsals, and then we’ll do a handful of marching rehearsals just because it’s been since fall that we’ve worked on the march.”

The band trips and competitions are a way for students to show their love of music and performing, which can help with band’s main goal of enhancing students’ skills, as well as provide a deep dive into music as a whole. Music can be more than just a hobby for students—it can bring people together. 

“Music is really important, and it’s in everyone’s life, whether you’re in band or not,” Kuperman said. “This is a way to participate in music.” 

Band class can be a way for students to connect with each other about their shared passion for music. Students participate in class first by doing warm ups with their designated instruments, and then they begin to work through their assigned music by section, giving everyone a chance to practice. 

“I’ve been playing music since a young age, and I thought that on top of being with my friends, [band] would be a good opportunity for me to continue playing music,” Acevedo said. “I practice almost every day, and try to get around one and a half to two hours a day.”

The class provides a safe space for all students, due to the amount of time band students spend together—whether it’s spent practicing or playing their instruments, so a close bond is bound to form. Students in band start going to the class before school starts because of band camp, which gives them the opportunity to meet upperclassmen and people they don’t know for the first time.

“I was always a really weird kid without many friends. I just didn’t fit in with a lot of people until I joined band,” freshman Amalia Sego said. “I found a lot of like-minded, kind kids.”

Whether it’s because of the music or the people, band means a lot to students in the class. Band gives students the repetition and practice skills that can be useful later in life.

“Band is the escape from the tasks of everyday life, and allows me to forget about all my problems for a little bit,” Acevedo said. “[I can] connect with my friends doing what I love most.”

 

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About the Contributor
Ava Strzalko, Staff Reporter
Ava Strzalko is a sophomore at Hagerty High School, and this is her first year on staff. In addition to writing, she enjoys drawing, watching movies, and listening to musicals.
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