Honor band, chorus have record number from BLHS
Some talented young musicians and vocalists are being produced in the Basehor-Linwood school district.
Seven Basehor-Linwood High School band students and six BLHS choir students were selected to perform in the Northeast Kansas Music Educators Association honor band and honor choir this Saturday, Dec. 1.
"That's the most ever for our district," high school chorus director Wendi Bogard said about the number of students chosen.
BLHS students competed against students from 14 different northeast Kansas counties and were selected through a live audition process earlier this month. Band students each prepared a solo selection specific to their instrument and performed it along with scales in front of a panel of judges. Choir students prepared the same three pieces, then on the day of the audition, students sung a selection from each of the three pieces for the judges.
"The judges listen to them, rank them, then choose the top students to be in the band," Bogard said. "Choir students are judged on eight different criteria, then the highest scores at the end of the day made it in."
Preparation for the event has taken place in class as well as in students' free time. Bogard said the BLHS mixed chorus works on the three audition pieces in class and performs them in its concerts. Two additional pieces are learned for Saturday's choir festival, which are worked on through rehearsal CDs during after school practice and at home.
Band students take private lessons to perfect their individual selections.
Several students are in both band and choir, and Bogard said she and band director Curtis Westbrook teach some of the same principles that apply to both classes.
"Mr. Westbrook and I have been working really hard to reinforce each other," she said. "We put in a lot of time -- weekends and nights after school."
The choir and band festivals will be split up for the first time this year, with the choir performing at Shawnee Mission South High School and the band at Blue Valley High School. All students will arrive in the morning to practice with students chosen from other schools, work out any issues with the large group, then perform in the afternoon.
Band students will be split up by school size with about 50 to 60 students in each of the three honor bands. The honor choir will consist of 150 to 175 students.
While they do not audition, a handful of students from each of the district's three elementary schools, Sixth Grade Center and Basehor-Linwood Middle School were nominated by their music teachers to also perform at the festival at the elementary and middle school levels as well.
Those selected for the high school honor band and honor choir include:
Band: Charissa Beeves, oboe; Kristen Beeves, French horn; Caren Chellgren, flute; Alex McMillan, tuba; Sam Mustain, trumpet; Rachel Peterson, flute; and Lisa Tadlock, trombone
Choir: Andrea Adcox, alto; Danielle Elliot, alto; Lauren Jackson, soprano; Logan Kirk, bass; Malarie Pierson, soprano; and Alex Vitt, tenor
These students will also be eligible to perform in the state Kansas Music Educators Association music festivals in February. A list of choir students that are selected to perform at state will be posted online about a week after the Dec. 1 concert. Band students must re-audition in January.
"There's a really strong senior class," Bogard said about this year's success. "We encourage the kids to do this because they have the opportunity to be a part of a select ensemble. Once they experience that sound they don't want to settle for anything less. They bring that home and motivate others to do better."