RHS Bands Compete At Band Festival


Photo by Creative Commons

Kathryn Chatman, Staff Writer

In March, the RHS bands performed at the district band festival, run by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association. All three bands— concert, symphony, and wind ensemble— produced first division ratings from three judicators.

“It felt really exciting to perform,” junior Steven Salkowski said. “I really enjoyed playing music and it’s a really fun thing to do. I was slightly nervous for this performance because it was in front of the three judges, but I feel like we had it down and we were prepared for it.”

At the festival, the bands played played three pieces, including a march, a director’s choice, and sight reading piece.  They were then rated on an A through E scale. After this, they receive an overall one to five rating.

“They were excellent, our bands had great performances, all three of them,” Band Director Mr. David Uhrig said. “They all earned first division ratings from the judges so they did really well. Their rating sheets were mostly all A’s; our top band, wind ensemble, got A’s in all 15 categories, symphony got all A’s and one B+and concert band got a mixture of A’s and B’s.”

Salkowski’s favorite piece to perform was called Shadow Waltzes.

“My favorite piece was definitely Shadow Waltzes. It’s a dark eerie kind of Tim Burton-like style piece and it was just really fun, cool lower register stuff,” Salkowski said.

When choosing the music to perform, Mr. Uhrig starts planning months in advance, and takes into consideration each band’s strengths and weaknesses. He also bases his decisions on pieces that have worked well in the past.

“I started researching over the summer. I try to have in my mind what the bands suits were gonna have,” Mr. Uhrig said. “The only one that was kind of a question mark was the concert band because I don’t really know how all the freshmen play until I see them and hear them play.”

The one piece Mr. Uhrig couldn’t extensively prepare the bands for was the cite reading.

“The difficult part it that cite reading portion where its like, you can practice sight reading we practice it a couple times a week, we pick random pieces out of our library the band hasn’t seen before and we go through the process… But you never know what piece they’re gonna give you. All the pieces were challenging that they provided,” Mr. Uhrig said.

Salkowski says this  one of the most difficult aspects of the festival.

“We got a one in everything except cite reading where we got a two and that piece was ridiculously hard. I felt [it was] unfair,” Salkowski said.

Overall, the festival was a success because of the amount of hard work that went into it.

“Everyday in band class we played,” Salkowski said. “There’s a ton of practice time at home and just, individually working on the piece. Together, it’s working on group things such as balance and tone. A ton of hours went into it.”