hosts 28th annual Honor Band
By Scott Bigelow
Dr. John Wakefield of the University of Maryland introduces the
2004 UNCP Honor Band, comprised of students from more than 55
schools in the region.
The sound of music
filled the air at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke on March
13 as more than 200 middle and high school students participated in
the 28th annual UNCP Honor Band.
After six hours
of practice, the two bands performed an evening concert at the Givens
Performing Arts Center (GPAC). The senior high band played under
the direction of Dr. John Wakefield, Director of Bands at the University
The young musicians
were challenged by a great director, said Professor Tim Altman, coordinator
for the UNCP Honor Band.
has been directing bands for 39 years and is a highly respected conductor
and clinician," Altman said. "It was an opportunity for young
musicians to work with a conductor who is known throughout the nation."
(right) and her daughter, April, who is a Union Middle School
student, discuss a piece of music with Union Middle and High School
Band Director Curt Collins.
"I was thrilled
with the day," Altman said. "I have never had so many band
directors compliment the Honor Band students on their focus and motivation.
They were into it!"
The middle school
band was directed by Coats-Erwin Middle School Band Director Robin Gorham
and Overhills Middle School Band Director Mark Mabe. Drawn from 55 schools
in the region, the students performed more music in the final program
than ever in the event's 28-year history, Altman said.
Angie Vann brought
her daughter, Union Middle School student April Vann. She was inspired.
"This is good,"
Vann said. "He (Dr. Wakefield) cares about what he does, and it
rubs off on the children. My daughter is loving it."
Junior Eve Greene said playing with an Honor Band takes young musicians
out of their comfort zone.
Academy student Eve Greene and her mother, Katharyn, relax in
the GPAC lobby after a day of practice.
than playing in our school band," Greene said. "You experience
playing with really good players. It's challenging, and the sound is
great with so many players in this auditorium."
The Honor Band's
objective is to benefit every player and every band program in the region.
All middle and high schools in the region had an opportunity to bring
"It's a good
event for some of our better students," said Magnolia Middle School
Band Director Mike McConnell. "It's an opportunity to work with
an outstanding director, read new music and learn something from other
Some of the most
talented young musicians, like 71st High School trumpet player Earl
Richardson and East Bladen High School French horn player Mallory Kwiatkowski,
competed in solo auditions for UNCP music scholarships.
"I like it,"
Richardson said. "If they are trying to get people to come here;
yeah, it's working."
to attend UNCP in the fall, and Kwiatkowski said she auditioned at several
universities this semester.
School student Earl Richardson waits for this solo audition.
me a better player," she said. "It's humbling, but I'm pleased
with the way I played."
Altman said all
players and schools benefit from the Honor Band experience.
attracts students of all levels from all levels of programs," Altman
said. "I believe the weaker programs benefit the most from exposure
to high quality music and instruction."
The event also featured
a director's band and two clinics for band directors to brush up on
their skills. Instructed by Tracy Wiggins and Janita Byars, of the Music
Department faculty, the clinics were a new addition to the day.
get to know our faculty better, and we get to know them," Altman
said. "We will definitely offer the clinics next year."
High School student Mallory Kwiatkowski was pleased with her audition.
High Band Director Mike Ward said reading new music during the director's
band was a good experience, and he said the clinics were helpful.
"It was very
nice that Tim Altman offered master classes in reeds and percussion,"
Ward said. "Band directors forget some of these techniques."
Ward said the day
was a success, and he praised the work of UNCP's music fraternity Phi
Mu Alpha. The student organization greeted and mingled with Honor Band
participants during a pizza luncheon on the lawn.
"This was good
for UNCP students to help out and show off the University," Ward
said. "Many of them will be band directors one day."
"This is a
great way to spend a Saturday," he said. "I'd rather do this
than anything I can think of."
When the students
put it all together in the evening program, each player performed in
his or her school's band uniform.
of different uniforms from all over the region was a sight to see,"
Altman said. "It doesn't get any better than this."
to University Newswire