EMHS band goes to state contest

Olivia Lane, Memorial Staff Writer

Wednesday and Thursday April 14 and 15, Edmond Memorial High School’s own Wind Symphony and Symphonic bands competed at the OSSAA state contest.

Both bands received a full sweep of superior ratings in both stage performances and sight-reading. William Bishop, director of the Symphonic Band, spent weeks preparing the band for contest day during class.

We do our best to achieve excellence at a high level so that we do not head into a performance like State contest feeling unprepared,” Bishop said.

Symphonic band performed the pieces “Into the Light” by David Schaffer, “Blue and Green Music” by Samuel Hazo and “Dance Episodes” by Tim Curnow. Wind Symphony performed the pieces “Purple Carnival” by Harry L. Alford, “Rest” by Frank Ticheli and “Rienzi” by R. Wagner.

Jeff Jahnke, director of the Wind Symphony, chose these pieces because he enjoys giving the band a variety of different kinds of music to challenge them. He especially enjoyed Wind Symphony’s second piece, “Rest.”

“It gave us an opportunity to really expand emotionally what we were doing through our instruments,” Jahnke said.

Though both bands saw success at contest, that doesn’t mean the road to arrive there was an easy one. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many challenges that directors and students alike had to face.

“Every morning I used a six foot flagpole to measure the space in between students and they had to use cloth instrument covers while playing.” Jahnke said.

However, through these challenges, the band’s love of music and performing continues to shine through. 

“It’s still just as fun to play the fun pieces and get cool parts to play,” senior baritone Luke Pickle said.

Even without a global pandemic, preparing for contest takes hard work and dedication from all parties involved. Preparation took hours from both students and teachers. In- class time is only a fraction of how the band prepares.

“I play my instrument for about four to five hours everyday including in-class rehearsal, jazz band and at home practice,” Pickle said.

The band’s performances and scores at contest were achieved with hard work. Hopefully, they will continue this level of achievement at their upcoming spring concert on May 14.

For more information contact Olivia Lane at [email protected]