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No Off Season For The Band

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March 29, 2010 by wcobserver

Omar Taweel

With the Super Bowl fresh on our minds the premier event in the world of football is complete.  It isn’t hard for diehard football fans to reflect on the season that has just ended.  With the continuing threat of snow and the scourge of black ice all around us, the true football fan longs for summer days and the beginning of football season.  Throughout the the months of September – November it isn’t hard to find a high school football game being played somewhere across our great land.  Look for the lights and follow the mascot tracks to the school, pay your admission and your ready for some football!  Before we go on, let’s reflect on the memories we have made…

Who can forget that special feeling whenever the band plays the Fight Song for the first time…the smell of fresh cut grass…the heat and humidity of the day giving way to a gorgeous sunset and moonrise…the cheerleaders…the sounds of helmets and shoulder pads crashing…the girls…the boys…the crowd at the first pep-rally…the games…the trips…the playoffs…the entire environment provides a relief to the true high school football fan that has been building in anticipation since the final gun sounded at double zero of the last game of the previous season.  But, this is a column about the band, the West Fork Band, after all the title is “Under the Ladder”, you know, the drum major ladder?  Halftime ends, the drum major takes his/her bow and the announcer is proclaiming “There they are ladies and gentlemen, the West Fork High School Tiger Marching Band!”

So, football season has ended, now what?

Let’s take a look inside the band room.  The beginner band is in action, learning to play wind band instruments from scratch.  They are in their first semester of formal instrumental music training and begin preparing for the Christmas concert.  The 7th and 8th grade middle school band is preparing for the Christmas concert and the sr. band morphs from the Tiger Marching Band to the WFHS Symphonic Winds, also preparing for an appearance on this same concert.  This is concert season!  Totally different from the marching band yet this is the time of year where our most important performance practice takes place.  There is no off season…

As the concert season progresses, many students will elect to audition for the all-region honor bands.  What is all-region, what’s a region?  Our band program is a member of the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association and our area of the state is known as Region One.  It encompasses schools from Siloam Springs in the West to Mountain Home in the East to Berryville in the North to West Fork in the South.  All the school bands in this geographic area are members of ASBOA Region One.   There are nine regions throughout the state.  There are numerous band events throughout the school year that foster musical development and provide our students with serious performance opportunities.  Our events include Marching Band Assessment, All-Region and All-State, Concert Band Assessment, and Solo & Ensemble Assessment.  We also participate in a number of invitational events as well.

Most recently, a number of our students participated in the ASBOA Region One all-region event.  This is to a band student what a track meet might be to an athlete.  Participation is by choice and it is for those who desire to take their skills to a higher level.  These students compete against those from the other schools in the region for a select few positions in the Region One Honor Band.  This type of competition requires the student to learn a predetermined set of music and then perform excerpts of that music in a controlled and anonymous environment.  The top scores are placed in the all-region band based on the number required for each instrument.  Students who are accepted into the all-region band participate in a band clinic where qualified directors from outside the region prepare and perform a public concert for all to enjoy.  Through the entire activity the students grow and develop into stronger musicians which in turn benefit our entire program.  Success breeds success.

This year the West Fork Band was represented by Tina Edens, Ryan Porter, Eric Porter, Nik Lamb, and Jackson Jones in the 2010 ASBOA All-Region Band Clinic held at both of the Springdale High Schools.  Sr. High level students who place high enough at the region level qualify to try out for the Arkansas All-State Band.  Eric, Nik, and Jackson qualified and tried out on February 6th for a coveted position in this organization.  Congratulations to Jackson Jones for being accepted into the Arkansas All-State Band and Nik Lamb for placing third alternate in the trumpet section.  Eric, Nik, and Jackson all plan to continue their music education as members of the University of Arkansas Band program next year.

Look for this column in future issues of the WCO.  As for now:  we will never rest until our good is better and our better is best.  For more information about the West Fork Band check us out online: www.westforkband.org

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