CHS Band Fights The Odds And Comes Out Third At State

MARIE BORAGINE 5/19/2016

The CHS band has had a difficult year. The beloved band director,  Mrs. Stevens, was out for the entire first semester of school battling brain cancer. The band came together more than ever before while she was away, with supportive long-term substitute teacher Mr. Dickson taking over the band classes, and student conductors Maria Ingersoll and Katie Moreno stepping up their leadership roles. Many parent volunteers helped out as well, including Shannon Garvin, aka “Dr. Timmy’s Mom”, who has been at school nearly every day of this year, taking care of the finances, managing, and  logistics of all the band events and performances. Mrs. Stevens was able to come back to school to teach in January 2016, just for Wind Ensemble, two days a week. Despite her circumstances, she remained a positive and energetic influence on the band, and went right to work preparing the Wind Ensemble’s competition music. This year, Wind Ensemble competed with two difficult pieces: “Pageant” by Vincent Persichetti, and “Give Us This Day” by David Maslanka. Hours of time were spent practicing the pieces during rehearsals, sectionals, with clinicians, and individually, in an effort to prepare them for competitions. Wind Ensemble competed in three competitions, and qualified the required two times to get put in the pool of bands for state. They then qualified a third time at the league band competition, which was held at CHS. None of this could have been achieved without the dedication of Mrs. Stevens, the band, and everyone involved. By the time it was Friday, May 13, which was state day, they had polished our music and were ready to perform. Their hard work throughout the year earned them third place, only beat by Ridgeview and Summit, who both had phenomenal performances. However, the band doesn’t stop after one success. Two days after winning third at state, they held a benefit concert for Mrs. Stevens and her husband Mark, aka “Band Dad”, as they are both battling cancer. Middle school, high school, and community bands and choirs performed at the benefit, and nearly $8,000 was raised to help the Stevens with their medical expenses. Directly after the benefit, the band began working on the many senior pieces this year, chosen and usually conducted by the seniors themselves, and performed at the final concert in June. All in all, it has been an incredible year, and as it comes to a close, I, as a Wind Ensemble member, couldn’t be more proud of how the band and Mrs. Stevens overcame obstacles with determination and perseverance, and earned third in the state in the competitive 5A bracket for the second consecutive year. One Band–One Sound!

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