The Brookfield High School Concert Band has pulled off a feat that no other ensemble in the storied history of their program has ever accomplished. For the second consecutive year, and the fourth time in school history overall, the BHS Band has achieved an “I” Honor Rating at the State Music Contest.
At the March 23 contest in Columbia at the University of Missouri, the band performed Marche Lorraine by Louis Ganne and A River’s Fury by James Swearingen.
“Marche Lorraine was composed in 1892 as a patriotic French march,” explained Director of Bands, Jennifer Rubin. “A River’s Fury, recently composed in 2012, is a programmatic work that depicts a riveting whitewater rafting journey that can only be described as both intense and exhilarating.”
These two musical selections were the focus of the band and their director for the two months leading into the contest. Rubin noted that the parts for the brass, woodwinds and percussion sections each had difficult techniques to master in this short period of time.
“I admire their dedication to learn this difficult level of music,” said Rubin. “The judges at contest commended their grasp of the French march style and exemplary attention to detail.”
In an effort to change the musical culture at BHS, Rubin instituted a practice of inviting other conductors and music professionals to work with the students.
“We began last year with Mrs. Pat Setser from the North Kansas City School District,” said Rubin. “This year, we hosted Dr. Jesse Krebs and Dr. Greg Jones from Truman State University in Kirksville.”
Despite all of these accolades, the clinics, the hard work, and all of the support a group of kids and a director could ask for, the group did not take their performance at State for granted. After their performance, they waited patiently for their results.
“We knew we had performed to the best of our abilities,” said Rubin. “But we can never be sure how a judge will respond to our interpretation of the music. We were ecstatic with the ‘I’ rating. Several directors and students praised our students on their fine performance and their mature and respectful behavior.”
In 2012, for the first time in 20 years, the Brookfield Band’s hard work and new culture, paid off with a “I” Honor Rating at State. This honor earned the band a chance to participate in a clinic and play at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida next summer.
“We are starting a tradition that will continue with the same amount of determination and effort from future classes,” said Rubin. “Because of their hard work, the Brookfield Concert Band has earned a place in the All-American Music Festival at Disney World in Orlando.”