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Students participate in honor band

posted Jan 27, 2016, 9:30 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 27, 2016, 9:50 AM ]

The Central Plains League Honor Band was on Saturday, Jan. 16, hosted at Douglass High School. Conway Springs High School sent eleven students, including senior Brenna Leahy, french horn; junior Alaina O’Neill, bass clarinet; and freshman Cooper Boyles, trombone. Around 170 students came from different schools in the Central Plains League. The band played four songs: “Sneak Attack”, “With Every Winter’s Breath”, “Escape from the Deep”, and “His Honor.”

“I really enjoyed ‘Winter’s Breath’ and ‘Sneak Attack’ because they were fun and had an easy trombone part,” Boyles said.

The director and clinician this year was Dr. Michael Mapp from Washburn University. Dr. Mapp taught the high schoolers different warm up techniques to practice intonation and embouchure, the way an instrumentalist’s mouth is shaped. Practice started at 9 a.m., with three 15-minute breaks, a one-hour break for lunch, and a 30-minute break to change clothes before the concert.

“Getting to have a group practice before the day of the concert or emailing out accompaniment tracks so we can know the correct tempos of the pieces would help a lot,” said O’Neill.

Leahy played french horn at the CPL Honor Band for the first time this year. Most students stick with the same instrument after choosing it in fifth grade, but Leahy switched instruments this year. Leahy was originally a trumpet player, but after an abundance of trumpets and a lack of french horns, she switched to french horn.

“It wasn’t too hard because it has most of the same scale fingering positions,” Leahy said. “The french horn has different tones though, so it was hard to know if I was playing the right notes sometimes.”

The concert started at 4 p.m., with the band going first, then the choir.

“The band sounded awesome, and I think they learned a lot from Dr. Mapp,” band director Dennis Kerr said.

Students practice their music during 8th hour band class. Mr. Kerr chose students to send to honor band. “I really enjoyed honor band and I think it was an amazing learning experience,” said O'Neill.