MCHS students chosen for IBA honor bands

MCHS students chosen for IBA honor bands

Anna-Lisse Lenard, Reporter

Three band students from MCHS were chosen for a chance to test their music skills. Students Adam Howard, Delaina Adams, and Mia Taylor recently performed for the Regional and District Honor Bands with many other young musicians.

The organization running the program is called the Indiana Bandmasters Association. It was founded in 1955, being active for the past 62 years and dedicated to bettering Indiana bands. The association has been under over 50 elected presidents who all have had much experience in music.

Through different skill and age levels, the IBA brings students together from different regions in Indiana. This is done through bands that students are chosen and qualify for.

The levels include All Region, All District, Junior State, and All-State. The purpose is to test their musicality and teamwork skills.

This is the first year the opportunity has been brought to the Michigan City Band Department. Students were encouraged to apply by band director Frank Gast. The application was online, opening August 8th and closing exactly one month later.

Students had to give basic information, such as name, age, email, primary instrument, years of experience, and if they have ever had private lessons.

From there, the band directors of the students had to step in. They gave their opinion on the students who applied followed by the type of player they are and the strengths they hold. The information goes to the IBA, and the committee chooses less than half from the pool of approximately 300 students who applied.

The All-Regional Honor Band and All-District Honor Band were offered to students here. Regional was for a younger age group, allowing students from grades 7-9 while District ranged from grades 9-12; it is possible to move to Junior State from this division.

Freshman clarinet player Mia Taylor and flautist Delaina Adams were chosen for the Regional. Sophomore trumpet player Adam Howard alone was chosen for District.

Practice and performance for Regional took place at Portage High School on Saturday, November 11th and Sunday the 12th. Saturday was dedicated to practice, starting at 8:30 and lasting until 4:30.

The day started off with a full-band rehearsal, then lunch, sectionals, then ended with the band together. Sunday was an hour of dress rehearsal and the final performance. The band played a variety of pieces, including “Moscow 1941”, “Joy”, “Star Wars”, “Thunderbird”, and “Zeal”.

About 75 students played in the band, filling every section properly. Unlike traditional concert band, students did not have to take chair placement tests, but were instead placed by director recommendation and songs their school’s band has played. The regional division was coordinated by Katy Briel.

For District, about 100 students met at Plymouth on November 18th and 19th. The schedule mimicked the one of the Regional band. In this division, Adam Miller was the coordinator. Songs played were “Flourish for Wind Band”, “Toccata for Band”, “Benediction”, “Charm”, “Summer Dances”, and “Joy – Revisited”.

Giving band students this opportunity to go out into the community and play with other others of the same age and interests was definitely worthwhile. Adams explained, “I really enjoyed it. I liked how everyone there was kind and open and that we could learn from each other. It was nice to see how everyone was serious about band and genuinely wanted to learn.”

The point of this annual event is to bring excelling young musicians from many schools in the region.
They are given music to practice on their own without guidance. Then, they are brought together for only a day of full band rehearsal and are required to perform the next day.

This can be quite challenging, and Taylor agrees, “It was difficult to work with people you don’t know and have never heard before. Still, I had a good time and would do it again.”

The IBA seems to have a specific focus: teamwork. “It was a good experience. We combined skills and techniques. Surprisingly, it was not stressful and people’s mistakes were not called out in a negative way,” explained Howard. “It was really cool to see what everyone could do and put it all together. In the end, we accomplished our goal and did what we came for: to play as one.”

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