A Festive Event

The crowd bobbed along to the catchy tunes, smiling as they began to feel the holiday spirit fill their hearts. The band captured the attention of the auditorium as they skillfully manipulated their instruments to create a festive melody that floated through the air like a swirl of snowflakes.

On Dec. 4 at 7 p.m., the auditorium hosted spectators as the band performed its annual holiday concert. The show served as both a showcase for the young performers to exhibit their talents and as a simple fundraiser for the musical organization.

Senior Brittany King described some of the holiday-themed songs the band presented.

“We played Christmas songs– Sleigh Ride, Christmas in Broadway, Green Sleeves, and one song, Lux Aurumque, about the birth of Jesus,” King said.

The concert generated revenue from over a hundred tickets sold to friends, family and peers.

“Overall the concert went very well and the audience was very happy with it… a big thank you to the band moms [who] got the decorations and put them all on the stage. Everybody liked them,” King said.

It took more than just bright, sparkling decorations to enthrall the audience. The band stuck to an intense rehearsal regimen to prepare for the big night and address their biggest weakness.

“We practiced [in class] every day for two months with one after school rehearsal,” junior Mike Pettruny said. “We like to play as individuals but not as a group as a whole. This affects the overall musicality of our pieces– they sound all the same instead of having a variety styles.”

Practicing everything from large scales to the tiniest of notes allowed for students to fully prepare.

“In a practice, [director] Mr. Franklin comes out and has us play Concert B flat and Concert F and tune our instruments… then we go through scales and we run the program and go through what we need most,” sophomore Kyle Pfister said.

Students further attribute the success of the concert to the fresh, solid leadership within the organization.

“We have a very good leadership this year… the seniors and our drum major, Mike Pettruny, really stepped up and made sure we were using our time wisely and with no goofing off,” freshman Zach Ellison said.

Drum Major Pettruny spends hours mentoring students struggling to master their instruments, keeping time, conducting rehearsals and giving motivational advice. His dedication allows him to fully understand every element of the ensemble.

“Low reeds, the lower saxophones, the Tenor Bari, the Bass Clarinet, and the bassoons, they’re the lower woodwinds and when there is a really exposed part of the music we [low reeds]  are the backbone. We have a really controlled sound this year,” Pettruny said.

Participating in band as an extracurricular and core class allows students to develop specific skills, travel across the country for competitions, apply for fine art scholarships and meet interesting new people. Students say that the bond playing in the band creates between strangers leads to life-long friendships and lots of laughter.

“This one time at band camp… [my brother] Mitch ate a caterpillar for twenty dollars,” Pfister said.