The Cherry Creek School District Middle School and High School Honor Bands made musical magic on February 2, filling the Grandview High School auditorium with everything from the sweet sounds of “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar, to the haunting melodies of “Hymn for the Lost and Living” by Eric Ewazen.
More than 150 middle school students and nearly 100 high school musicians auditioned for the opportunity to participate in the Honor Band program. Eighty-one middle school students, representing all ten middle schools in the district, and 49 high school students from all six district high schools were selected.
The middle school students spent the day rehearsing with guest conductor Mike Pearce. During his 34 years as a public school band and orchestra director in Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa, his groups earned 50 “Superior” performance ratings. Pearce currently plays French horn with the Denver Pops Orchestra, is an active composer/arranger, guest conductor and clinician at individual schools and national music educators conferences.
“Honor Band is a wonderful opportunity for our students to experience the audition process, work with other students from around the district, rehearse and perform higher level music and learn from highly qualified guest clinicians who travel from all parts of Colorado,” said Angela Smith, band and orchestra teacher at Liberty Middle School.
The High School Honor Band worked with guest conductor, Dr. Joseph Martin, who is the Director of the Lamont Wind Ensemble and coordinates the Wind Chamber Program at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. Dr. Martin also serves as chair of the Brass and Percussion Department, and is a professor of trombone, bass trombone and euphonium.
The Cherry Creek Schools Honor Band Program is designed to raise the standard of music education in the district and affirm the critical role that the arts play in the education of all students. The day long experience wrapped up with a concert featuring each band performing a variety of challenging pieces.
“The district honor band is the only opportunity our students have to join together with students from other schools not to compete, but to create and perform,” said Tim Libby, band director at Cherry Creek High School. “The honor band experience has resulted in a feeling of mutual respect for each other and we look forward to this collaboration every year.”