On a high note: SHS band wins its first slot at state championship

May, 2009 Posted in School

By Mary Owen

Stayton High band members wowed the judges with their playing at the recent Capital Conference Band Festival – and for the first time in SHS history, will play at the Oregon School Activities Association State Band Championships.

State band competition
May 13-16
LaSells Stewart Center
Oregon State University

Stayton High band will play at 12:45 p.m.
on the first day of the event,
followed by sight reading a
musical score at 1:30 p.m.
Awards will be given out at 6:45 p.m.

Other 4A competitors include:
Scappoose, Philomath, Douglas,
Siuslaw, La Grande, Sisters, Astoria,
Seaside and Cascade.

Tickets, $8 adults, $5 students,
are on sale at osaa.org/tickets.
Doors open one hour prior to the
first performance each day.

Information, go to osaa.org/band.

“I was really impressed with how the students in our band came together and played so well,” said Rich Dickson, SHS band director. “These are the same kids who rode back and forth for the state basketball tournament and had very little time to practice for the Capital Conference Band Festival prior to spring break. Then they came back and performed a concert of their contest material with only two days of school.”

Losing a number of players to graduation last year forced the rest of the band to “pull themselves together, and they’ve done a great job,” said Dickson, who has taught music at the high school since 2001.

Dickson and his band members are excited to have qualified for the OSSA competition, which took quite a bit of work.

“The kids have come very close quite a few times to qualifying for this contest and just missed it by three points here, four points there,” Dickson said. “But they’ve always bounced back and just stuck to the music, even if things didn’t go well or they had a day off.

“They picked up steam around January,” he added. “And now they’re playing very well together. They placed second over-all at the regional competition. All three judges put them through to the qualifying pool for state.”

At the April 14 competition, at North Marion High School, each band played 18 minutes. SHS’s tune list included: “Jackson Lake Overture,” composed by Spokane resident, Mark Williams; “As Summer Was Just Beginning,” by Larry Daehn; and “Impact,” by Sean O’Loughlin.

Band members were then asked to sight-read and play a piece of music never seen or practiced before.

“They were judged on how well they did,” Dickson said. “All the points are compiled, and they had to get 75 out of 100 points from at least two out of the three judges to qualify for state competition.”

To participate, bands had to rise to the top of the pool of qualifiers to earn one of 10 available spots, all based on sight-reading scores and performance tapes adjudicated by out-of-state judges, Dickson said.

He said band members were stunned when they heard they had qualified, not believing they had actually made it to the state competition.

“One year we traveled to the north coast to make a second attempt, but were given an alternative time slot, and were sluggish from the bus ride,” he said. “This year, the kids were modestly confident, more relaxed, just gave it their best and let the chips fall.”

When it sunk in that they had made it, band members had a very happy bus ride home, Dickson said.

He said the band is working hard to get ready for the upcoming competition, practicing an hour every morning.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.