Winter Concert strikes a holiday note


Mindy Newcombe

Band performers end last year’s winter concert successfully

As the semester comes to an end, the band program leaves off with a joyful jingle inside the hearts of students and parents alike. Performing at their winter concert last week, the show was a success, according to band director Justin Snively.

“We try to go all out for the winter concert,” he said. “Every single band performed. We had lighting, curtains, an audio set-up … overall, it was a huge production, and it was super- awesome.”

In previous concerts, the bands performed their pieces separately, showcasing their individual talente. However, in the finale of this recital, they  played all together. 

“We got a lot of good feedback from the parents as well,” he said. “I think everyone just had fun ‘jamming out’ since [the finale] was a more lighthearted piece.”

The first-year director has created a fundamental baseline for the musicians, according to senior Grant Newcombe. 

“I think that band this year has been slow to start, but now that we’ve gotten our groundwork done, we’ve learned a lot more,” Newcombe said. “From the perspective of our band’s sound, it’s improved a lot since [former director Chris] Houze was here. Mr. Snively works a lot on how we sound as a whole rather than individually, so I think he’s a good teacher in the sense that he’s working on our balance and blend.”

Houze, left abruptly during the 2021-2022 school year, leaving musicians without guidance for nearly a year. As a result, Newcombe said the program “suffered drastically,” and Snively has faced the challenge of determining individual skill sets. 

“When we started off, [Snively] gave us a lot of easier pieces because we didn’t really know where we stood,” he said. “These pieces helped us get our groundwork and focus more on our tone quality, dynamics and musicality rather than the notes, rhythms and perfections. Now that we’ve gotten past that point, we’re doing a lot more complicated and fun pieces.”

Junior Jacob Woods called the simpler pieces “mind-numbing.” 

“One of the new pieces we received is around a Level 3 piece when we should be playing Level 5 pieces,” Woods said. 

However, with the limited number of students in the band program, both the director and the performers make the best of their circumstances. 

“Because we don’t have as many people, [Snively] is also blending the two top bands together to make a more full sound,” Newcombe said. “I think we could have played more complex music, but that’s also from my perspective, and I’ve been doing band a lot longer than most other people. So, even if I’m ready to do something more complex, not everyone else is.”

Snively said he’s pleased with the progress he’s seen since he started.

“I don’t even know how good they’re going to get because I haven’t been to the end of a year with students here at West Shore,” Snively said. “They’ve already grown so much since the beginning of the year. So, I’m excited to see where they end up.” 

By Sofia Palermo