Wadena-Deer Creek’s (WDC) concert band is set to perform at the prestigious Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) state convention on Feb. 14 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
“This is such a great honor,” said Lisa Weniger, band director at WDC Middle/High School. “We will be able to showcase our band to music educators from around the state. It’s an excellent performance experience for our students.”
A home concert for the Wadena, Deer Creek and Bluffton communities will be at 3 p.m. Sunday in the WDC Middle/High School gymnasium, where the public will get the opportunity to hear the six pieces they will perform at the MMEA convention.
WDC is one of five public school bands chosen to perform. Princeton and Wadena-Deer Creek are the only bands north of Minneapolis performing. Other bands include: Pipestone Area Schools Sixth Grade Band; Apple Valley High School Wind Ensemble; and Centennial High School Wind Ensemble, Circle Pines. The St. Olaf College Band and St. Louis Community Band, as well as orchestras, choirs and jazz bands are also set to perform during the three-day convention.
Weniger sent an audition CD with two songs performed by the 2011-12 concert band last spring and she was notified last summer that the band was accepted to play at the 2013 convention.
The last time a band from Wadena performed at the MMEA convention was in 1957, with Wadena band director Glenn Evensen.
Weniger selected six pieces of music for the 45-minute performance that she felt not only challenged her students, but exemplified the convention’s theme, “Defining Our Future, Honoring Our Past.” They include, in order of performance:
• “Adrenaline Engines,” composed by Randall D. Standridge, is a catchy, energetic opening song.
• “Jubilateo,” written by Samuel R. Hazo, is a new piece of music that’s not yet in print and is another high-spirited selection.
• “Ever Braver, Ever Stronger,” composed by Gordon Goodwin, is an emotional ballad in response to the 9/11 attacks and conveys a range of feelings about being an American today. This selection features solos by students Drew Larson, trumpet; Macy Hartman, flute; Lacey Barthel, clarinet; and Abby Wegscheid, oboe.
• “Prairie Dances,” written by David Holsinger is a celebrative cowboy dance.
• “Blue Tango,” composed by Leroy Anderson, is concert music with a pop quality. In 1952, the song was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Charts for 38 weeks.
• “Grand Galop,” composed by Johnnie Vinson, is a circus march and a uniquely American musical genre. These marches were written for the circuses to stir the audience into a frenzy, as the four-footed animals galloped across the ring.
In Weniger’s conductor notes in the program she created for the MMEA performance, she said the following: “Our program today is designed with not only the clinic’s theme in mind, ‘Defining Our Future, Honoring Our Past,’ but also music that has inspired the Wadena-Deer Creek band program during the time of the rebuilding of our school which was destroyed by an EF4 tornado on June 17, 2010. We now have moved into our new facility, which is located on the old site, and we are looking toward the future.”
Since school started this fall, the band — numbering 65 students in grades 9-12 — have practiced nearly every day during their 53-minutes of band time. Weniger is also leaning on two guest conductors, Jim Iverson, retired band director from Fergus Falls, and Dwight Nelson, retired band director from Little Falls, to assist her in preparing her students. Iverson is assisting with “Jubilateo” and Nelson with “Ever Braver, Ever Stronger.”
WDC junior Hailey Formo, 16, who plays bass clarinet, said the opportunity to perform at the MMEA convention is “an amazing feeling.”
“We have been pushed as a band to learn these songs, and our band family has definitely grown stronger as a whole. I am so thankful Mrs. Weniger gave us the opportunity to audition last spring and excited to perform.”
MMEA will record the music concerts at the convention. CDs will be available for $10 each. Contact Weniger to reserve your copy by contacting her at 218-632-2369 or email@example.com.