On the evening of Wednesday, April 15, dedicated musicians took the stage of the VHS auditorium to honor past American heroes through what they know best: music. Valparaiso Bands presented the 150th Anniversary End of the American Civil War: A Musical Remembrance, featuring the “B” Wind Ensemble & Symphonic Band and Concert Band.
Miguel Rosario-Vega, Director of VCS Bands, said, “Today marks the 150th anniversary of the official end of the American Civil War. We thought we’d play pieces that are connected to the Civil War events whether they are an original composition inspired by the events of the war or classical works written in the 19th century.”
Rosario conducted the bands through the music. The “B” Wind Ensemble performed Battle Hymn of the Republic, The Blue-Tail Fly, and The Last Battle. The Concert Band performed A Patriotic Festival, The Girl I left Behind Me, Vicksburg Memorial, and lastly, The Blue and The Gray. It was evident that each musical piece was hand-selected specifically to fit the theme of the concert best.
Flutist Francie Fink said, “I think it’s really great that we are able to incorporate what we learn in the classroom into our music. Valparaiso Bands always manages to pick relevant and interesting themes for our concerts.”
Rosario, along with middle school band directors Wayne Coil and Sam Hauter, carefully craft concerts that pertain to an important issue or event. Concerts range from honoring historical events to serving as a benefit concert for a local organization. An example of this would be the Holiday Jazz Concert & Food Drive held every winter. Although admission to the event is free, attendees are encouraged to give donations and bring nonperishable food items for the local food pantry.
“What makes band so fun is the positive atmosphere we are in. Everyone is here for a reason and it’s an encouraging environment,” VHS Band President Kathryn Berger stated. “It’s powerful seeing something you’ve been working on for months come together flawlessly.”
Not only do Valparaiso Bands have talented musicians, but committed ones as well. Students prioritize band rehearsals, events, and concerts above all else. Band members in both the middle schools and high school must also dedicate a class period to take the class. Some students even sign up for private tutoring lessons to refine their skills outside the classroom. This passion and dedication is definitely conveyed in their performance. Time after time the VCS bands manage to perform exquisitely and remind us of the talent that is flourishing in our schools.
Check out the following dates for upcoming Valparaiso Bands events! Friday 4/17 6:00 pm- 10:00 pm Jazz at Aberdeen- Big Band Jazz Dance featuring VHS Jazz Ensemble, Studio Lab Jazz, VHS Combo Tickets are $16.00 and are available at www.valpobands.org
Tuesday 4/28 7:00 pm Pre-Contest Concert, Wind Ensembles “A” & “B” & Symphonic Bands @ VHS Auditorium
Friday 5/1 ISSMA Semi-State Qualifications @ Chesterton High School Wind Ensemble “A” performs at 7:30 pm Wind Ensemble “B”/Symphonic Band performs at 9:30 pm Free Admission
Saturday 5/2 1:00 pm John Philip Sousa Concert VHS Concert Band at Valparaiso University
Tuesday 5/5 7:00 pm Middle School Band Festival VHS Auditorium
Saturday 5/9 time TBA ISSMA Concert Band State Finals “A” and “B” Wind Ensembles Symphonic Band at Indianapolis
Thursday 5/21 7:00 VHS Spring Band Festival All Bands at VHS Auditorium