Band members aim to inspire at spring concert

District band festival exposes high school band to younger students

Ivy Kaplan and Emily Melbye

When Park band members take center stage during the district band festival, they will do much more than just play sheet music. They plan on inspiring younger band students as well, according to band director Steve Schmitz.

The District Band Festival features band members of all ages within a single performance, allowing elementary and middle school students to hear and experience what high school band involves.

For high school band members such as sophomore Zoe Peterson, this performance presents an opportunity to take on more responsibility and act as role models for the younger kids.

“It’s cool to be the older kids now,” Peterson said. “I use to look up to them and now I am that inspiration.”

Band director Steve Schmitz said he agrees and enjoys teaching the high school members the pieces that inspire the elementary and middle school students.

“It feels really good and it feels like we’re accomplishing our purpose of inspiring the younger ones to continue in the band family,” Schmitz said. “They’re like heroes to them even before they play their instruments or do anything because they are people to look up to.”

Another aspect of this performance is that as opposed to previous years, a musical piece will be played by all of the bands bands collaborating together, according to Schmitz.

“In the past they’ve always had the middle and high school kids just play the high school versions of things and that was very frustrating because we basically had to tell the younger kids ‘This is way above where we’re at right now’ and we were literally telling them to fake it,” Schmitz said. “I finally went ahead and said we’re going to buy a piece that had an elementary part, a middle school part, and a high school part so no one has to fake it.”

Junior band member Alejandra Campos said the the new piece allows the less experienced students to participate more as well.

“We have a new song this time with the elementary school kids, showcasing what they have learned,” Campos said.

The advancement of student skill levels is another significant aspect of the performance. Freshman Mitch Jones said he thinks this is one of the highlights of the concert.

“It’s a big transition,” Jones said. “I remember wanting to be an older band student and now that I am, I feel like I reached a goal of mine.”

The District Band Festival performance will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Mar. 3 in the old gym at the high school and is open to the entire St. Louis Park community for free.

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