Band festival gives young musicians chance to perform, get feedback

  James Hart School Music Director Matt Johnson leads
  the symphonic band.
(Photos by Marilyn Thomas/
  H-F Chronicle)
Young musicians from Homewood and Flossmoor performed and got valuable feedback and input from experts during the 2018 South Suburban Junior High School Association Band Festival April 12 hosted by James Hart School in Homewood.
  Homewood's Hart School
  musicians perform a
  modified version of
  Mussorgsky's "Pictures
  at an Exhibition" during
  an April 12 band festival.

Symphonic bands at Hart and Flossmoor Junior High were among the 10 school bands that performed a variety of music during 20-minute sessions followed by feedback from adjudicators Dan Harrison, director of bands at a junior high in Oswego, and Michael Madonia, director of bands at Robert Morris University. Their assessments were based on a band's intonation, tone quality, balance and blend, interpretation and musicianship, fluency of technique, rhythmic accuracy and stage presentation.
Elana Reid, director of the Parker Junior High Symphonic Band, said she chose “Terracotta Warriors,” “Irish Tune from County Derry” and “New Forest March” for the performance because of their contrasting styles.
Hart’s band, directed by Matthew Johnson, performed “Genius (March),” “Whale Warriors” and a modified version of “Pictures at an Exhibition” for the program.
  Emmanuelle Bouyer works
  at keeping time as a timpani
  player during the Hart
  School Symphonic Band's
  performance at the South
  Suburban Junior High
  School Association's Band

Harrison said playing a musical instrument is a difficult thing, and being in performance can make it more difficult because playing in a group requires the young musicians to not only be in tune but to keep their timing and dynamics so that the ensemble presents as one unit.
“With math you learn one concept at a time. English you learn one thing at a time, for example, sentence structure. Music is different because you’re working on all musical concepts at once,” Harrison explained. 
Reid said “the clinician provided great feedback, which will be used in working towards our spring concert” set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, at the school, 2810 School St. in Flossmoor. The band is directed by Reid and Heather Hoefle.
Johnson and teacher Kim Tallungan worked Harrison’s assessment into the band’s presentation at the State of Illinois Concert Band Clinic at Illinois State University on April 21.

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