Doane Honor Band 2020


Photo courtesy of Michelle Garrett

Morgan Moomey, Staff Writer

On January 13, the 13th annual Oregon Trail Honor Band was hosted at Alliance High School. Unlike other honor bands, an audition is not required for the Doane honor band. You simply have to ask your director to nominate you. The schedule of events for the day consisted of rehearsals beginning at 9:45 A.M., a break at 11:30 A.M., lunch at 12:30 P.M. Then resumed rehearsals at 1:30 P.M., a break at 4:00 P.M., and the final performance for the public at 5:00 P.M. The pieces that were played were, “Fanfare For a New Age” by Michael story, “Avinu Malkinu” by Vince Gassi, “Moscow 1941” by Brian Balmages, and “America the Beautiful” arranged by Jay Dawson.

Eight members of the Alliance High School band received the honor of participating. These eight students were Jackson Moomey, trumpet; Bryson Darveau, trumpet; Brooklyn Branstiter, french horn; Jaxon Bair, french horn; Courtney Cox, flute; Aubrey Garrett, alto saxophone; Gavyn Bossell, trombone: and Izzy Middleton, percussion. 

Of these eight students, I was able to interview six of them. When asked what she has taken from this experience, junior, Courtney Cox said, “In this experience I was able to play with amazing musicians from around our area that love music just as much as I do. I was very humbled by the amazing skills and pure talent from everybody around me and felt very proud when the girl beside me even asked me for help.” Students were also asked how this year’s Oregon Trail Honor Band compares to previous honor bands that they may have attended. Courtney responded to this question by saying, “I have also participated in UNK and CSC honor bands last year. This experience was different, but still as amazing. I was able to meet a bunch of musicians from smaller schools that I haven’t seen before. But I was also able to see a couple of familiar faces from the CSC honor band that I reconnected with. This was an awesome experience to be held at our own awesome PAC.”

Also interviewed were junior trumpet players, Jackson Moomey and Bryson Darveau. “I gained some more friends, definitely gained some experience, and most important, gained knowledge. After a while, being under the direction of one band director, your mind becomes stagnate, so it is important to get out there and play with other musicians, and receive constructive criticism, which is one of the best ways to improve as a musician,” said Jackson when asked what he has gained from his experience. Bryson added, “I met some new people, and played some interesting music.” When asked how this year’s Oregon Trail Honor Band compares to previous honor bands that they may have attended, Jackson responded, “I have participated in the CSC high plains, UNK, and UNO’s wind ensemble. Doane is always the easiest honor band, but I find it a good opener to the honor band season. It is easy enough for the amateur musician to sight read the music, but difficult enough that you have to work for perfection.” Darveau stated that he has “…participated in the Omaha and UNK bands, and this one seems a little more relaxed than the others, but is bigger by a long shot.” 

The youngest participate from Alliance was sophomore french horn player, Brooklyn Branstiter. “This was my first honor band,” said Brooklyn, “and I plan on attending more after the experience I had at this one.” I then asked her what she thought of her first honor band, and what she may have learned. Brooklyn replied, “At the beginning of the rehearsal, I was super nervous, but then I realized that playing my horn is what I love to do and I gained confidence. I was super excited for the performance later that night.” She also said that she “learned new techniques on how to sight read, and made new friends.” 

Senior, Izzy Middleton, was also interviewed. From her experience this year she “…met some new people…and was able to play some fun new music.” Izzy also has prior experience in honor bands. She said, “I have participated in UNK and CSC honor band for two years, about to be three, and there are much higher caliber musicians in those ones because they’re audition based, and they have harder music, generally.”

Last interviewed was senior, Aubrey Garrett. “I always like participating in honor bands/choirs because it gives me the opportunity to play with other musicians from other places. I get to play music in this band that no one else gets to because it’s a one time thing. It’s an awesome experience,” Aubrey said when asked what she has gained from her experience this year. She has also participated in other honor bands such as “…UNK and I’m going to UNO as well.” 

Doane honor band is only one of the many honor bands that our band members have the opportunity to participate in. Good luck to all band members who may be attending future honor bands!