The Brevard All-County Band Festival occurred on Jan. 26, at The King Center for Performing Arts. Participating students received their audition music in November, and used the remaining months to practice for the concert.
Band Director Christopher Houze described the event as a collaborative experience.
“The students with the highest scoring auditions are selected for the ensemble,” Houze said. “After that, there is no sense of competition. It is actually the ultimate team sport. Unlike some sports where students sit on a bench and do not participate for portions of the game, every student who is selected to participate in the ensemble is participating 100 percent of the time.”
Following the selection, students practice independently until January, where they meet with the conductors and other participants to review their music.
“The challenge… is taking a group of students who will only rehearse four times, and having them perform an entire concert program,” Houze said. “This challenge, in part, is solved by selecting the best students for the job, and hiring expert guest conductors who really take the individual student work and mold it into the collective group experience.”
R.J. S., who performed in the All-County Middle School band with 92 other students, said the conductors gave him tips to improve his playing.
“I took away how to play a bigger and better sound and how to last longer when I played,” R.J. said.
According to Houze, the information given to all-county participants is spread to fellow musicians who use it to improve their playing as well.
“This sharing of ideas allows for not only musical growth, but growth as a human being,” Houze said. “Sometimes music lessons become life lessons. Shared wisdom becomes a collective wisdom. Everybody is taking something from the experience. Students who participated in this experience bring this new wisdom or insight back to West Shore, and the cycle starts again. So when you really think about it, not only do the students grow who made the All-County ensembles, but all West Shore musicians grow as a result.”
By Riley Harper