Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

LHS band takes festival by storm

Awards plentiful for Lions in Texas

March 31, 2005

Hearing the Lansing High School band perform in the near-perfect acoustics of the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas was a delight to LHS band director Deb Steiner.

Seeing her students cited for individual performances and the marching and concert bands was even better.

"I've never heard them sound like that before," Steiner said of the band in its concert performance at Myerson center, which boasts one of the top acoustic stages in the world..

The band won individual awards for Outstanding Drum Majors, Outstanding Marching Color Guard and Outstanding Percussion Section during the Southwest Invitational, a competition in Dallas for high school bands.

After leaving Lansing with three buses at midnight March 17, the band arrived in Dallas an hour before is first performance in the festival.

The 14-hour trip did not seem to affect the band. The opportunity to play in one of the top acoustical auditoriums in the world didn't hurt, either. It beat playing in the LHS gymnasium, said junior Neva Kelloff, an alto sax player in the band.

"We sounded so good because we didn't have an echo, and you could hear the notes resounding," she said.

The band earned a first-place finish and a top rating for its concert band performance.

"It's good because we are used to people around the community telling us we are good," Kelloff said. "Here, people who know a lot about music thought we were good."

After the performance, judges worked with the band, giving members pointers that they will take to a regional festival later this month.

The judges worked with members on how to breath together and keep time better, Kelloff said.

The next day, March 19, the band headed to the home of the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Stadium, where they competed in the marching band portion of the competition.

"You could just imagine everybody watching you even though there were only about 100 people in the stands," said trombone player Nick Kelloff.

Neva Kelloff said. Nick Kelloff is Neva Kelloff's younger brother, one of 10 sets of siblings in the band who made the trip.

"It seems like everybody has a sibling in the band," Neva Kelloff said.

A freshman, Nick Kelloff was among the first-time marchers in the band, which earned a two rating for its marching performance.

"We could have done better, but the freshmen were marching for the first time ever," Neva Kelloff said.

"They did well for only having two rehearsals," Steiner added.

LHS did not have enough instruments for the freshmen to march with the band in the fall for football season, nor do the freshmen practice with the upperclassmen, Steiner said.

After the band finished competing, it spent the rest of the time sightseeing in Dallas. All of the schools attending the festival visited Six Flags during the trip. The band also visited the site where President John F. Kennedy was shot. The area outside the Texas School Book Depository was a highlight for the Kelloffs.

"You just felt like something momentous happened there," Nick Kelloff said.

After a tour of the town and a stop at the Marine Aquarium, the band returned to Lansing with trophies, memories and an unforgettable experience.

"It's amazing to go somewhere like this and perform," Neva Kelloff said.

Steiner is grateful for the experience for the band also.

"We couldn't have done it without all of the support from the community and administration," Steiner said.

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