Mid-winter Band Concert 2021


Morgan Moomey, Jr. Editor

On March 18, the AHS band performed their first concert in over a year. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 District Music competition, the 2020 spring concert and the 2020 Christmas concert. 

In an interview with third year band director Mr. Jeremy Eskam, he stated that, “Being able to hold a concert for the first time in a year was a big relief. It is a privilege to be able to perform for our community, and it is critically important for the student performers for a variety of reasons. I am extremely happy that we can once again give public performances.”

 Eskam also explained, “In short, COVID-19 impaired the band’s ability to rehearse and perform. Even upon our return to school in the fall, it didn’t take very long for the effects of the quarantine procedures to make an impact on the band’s rehearsal process. With the constantly fluctuating lists of absentees, it was difficult to get a proper ‘look’ in rehearsal.” He continued saying, “However, with that being said, I believe that the constant change has trained band members to be flexible and to adapt more quickly. There’s a lot to be said about people who can roll with the punches, and I think that these students have learned to do that very well.”

Eskam described the concert in detail by explaining, “In total, eight pieces were performed during the March concert. The jazz band performed five pieces, alternating between the jazz/funk and rock genres. The most recognizable melodies heard from their set included Birdland, Virtual Insanity and The Way You Look Tonight. Birdland is a standard in the jazz repertoire and has been made famous by groups such as Weather Report and the late, great Maynard Ferguson. Virtual Insanity was a collaborative work made famous in the late 90’s/early 00’s and was written by the same people who produced Canned Heat, which was featured in the comedy Napoleon Dynamite during his dance scene. The Way You Look Tonight is an older melody, but one that has stood the test of time thanks in part to its famous rendition by Frank Sinatra. Moving on, the concert band performed three pieces in the following order; Lost Lady Found, Finale (Tema Russo), and Earthdance. The first piece is actually the last movement from a much larger work by Percy Grainger called Lincolnshire Posy. Grainger was perhaps the most famous modern Australian composer who wrote Lincolnshire Posy during his tenure in England. Lost Lady Found was written in an attempt to capture the feeling of reconnecting with someone after a long period of forced separation and therefore features moments of sudden surprise and a lot of happy energy. Earthdance was written by a current composer, Michael Sweeney, and offers performers the chance to imitate a thunderstorm. This is both quite entertaining for the audience and satisfying for the performers. After the weather effects from the band subside, a tribal melody takes over and slowly builds towards a release of joy and happiness with a celebratory dance.” It is obvious in Eskam’s exposition of the concert that he is extremely passionate about the music that his student’s create. 

 Eskam remarked that he, “…felt that despite the circumstances that led us to the March 18 concert, both bands turned it up a notch and gave solid performances through and through.” He also stated that he “…would like to congratulate all of my students one more time for the performances they gave that evening. I am a firm believer that the outcome of musical performances are determined just as much in the practice room as they are on stage. This is not unlike how sports teams’ seasons are often determined in the offseason just as much as they are in season. I think the number one thing that could be improved is gaining a deeper understanding of that concept. Increasing the quality and amount of practice students invest in their future performances only can and will benefit them.”

As a member of the AHS band, it was awesome to be able to perform for an audience again. Those are the times that I am reminded of why I joined band in the first place: to make music for people who love music as much as I do. 

With the mid-winter concert coming to a close, the band will now prepare for District Music, adding two new pieces to their repertoire. The SPUD wishes the band luck as they prepare for their upcoming district-wide competition.