The Miami Trace High School Band program will hold its winter concert on Dec. 10, and the entire community is invited to join in the festivities.
“Well, for this concert we would ordinarily share it with our seventh and eighth grade bands, but we have some scheduling conflicts that made it difficult,” Ken Hoffman, Miami Trace High School band director said. “Instead, we will have our high school concert bands performing on December 10 at 7 p.m. in the Miami Trace High School auditorium. The high school jazz band will be sharing a concert with our sixth grade beginning band students on December 5 at 6:15 p.m.”
For the Dec. 10 concert, the concert band will be performing an old-fashioned sing-a-long, in which the band will accompany the audience in a few Christmas carols. They will also perform classical music that centers around winter and Christmas.
Finally, they will perform a piece called Yonaguska (The Legend of Drowning Bear), which is a work that evokes Native American stories and legends. It’s central to Hoffman’s philosophy that students perform music from different cultures and time periods. According to the band director, one of the many great lessons that music teaches students is that music is universal, and Hoffman can encourage students to be open-minded citizens by studying music from other cultures.
The symphonic band will perform a version of “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” that Hoffman described as dark and brooding. Additionally, they will be performing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, The Thunderer March by John Philip Sousa (with the new middle school director guest conducting), and finally, will perform a piece by Bela Bartok, called “Evening in the Country” that features a senior band member as soloist.
“This year, we started a ‘soloist competition,’ in which the students audition for a panel and then are selected as the soloist that the band will accompany,” Hoffman said. “Mike West is our featured soloist this year as the first year we held the competition. All in all, the concert programs at Miami Trace are really enjoyable and entertaining. All concerts are free and open to the public, and we love to see new faces.”
Hoffman commented on the music selection for the concert as well. He said in order to pick their music, he considers what the students are capable of doing and finds pieces that form a coherent program, but that still offers them the chance to play in as many styles and time periods as possible.
In other Miami Trace band news, Hoffman shared that band students were able to attend a concert by the President’s United States Marine Corps Band, and also performed at halftime during the University of Cincinnati versus Navy game. He also said that after the new year, the school will host the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) District 16 large group adjudicated event and the OMEA District 16 Jr. High Solo and Ensemble contests.
“Finally, to honor our building and the alumni, and to celebrate our new building and bright future, we have commissioned a composer to write a new work for the band,” Hoffman said. “We will debut the new piece, by John M. Pasternak, at our spring concert in May.”
The information in this article was provided by Ken Hoffman, Miami Trace High School band director.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.