Wind Ensemble prepares for outdoor concert

Students+in+the+Wind+Ensemble+work+hard+during+their+class+period.+They+are+preparing+for+their+May+concert.

Photo by Ella Hamilton

Students in the Wind Ensemble work hard during their class period. They are preparing for their May concert.

Ella Hamilton, Social Media Editor

A year ago, Stillwater band students would not have imagined doing an outdoor concert this spring, much less forced outside because of a pandemic. With so many changes this school year, classes, such as band, have had to be flexible with their learning schedules. Despite that, students and teachers still find ways to make it enjoyable for all. 

Wind Ensemble conductor, Joel Bryan, has been conducting this band for five years. The Wind Ensemble is a full band mostly made up of 10 and 11 graders. This year, with so many changes in the school, band has especially looked different. 

“Typically, you know, we don’t really run our rehearsal cycles on a quarter schedule. And that whole schedule has been thrown out the window,” Bryan said. “Playing together has been completely thrown out the window, we’ve found some ways to do it creatively by doing recordings and everything but it hasn’t been the same,” Bryan explained. 

Despite many differences between this school year and past years, the band has found ways to work around these challenges. One of the biggest challenges is concerts. With COVID-19 safety guidelines it is difficult to have concerts that are typical in other years, so the band teachers have had to be creative. An outdoor concert will be held May 18 at Autumn Hills Park, and on May 25 if it is rained out. 

Sophomore Isabelle Knighton said the concert will be outdoors and will most likely have chairs set up for the band students in the grass. 

This concert, unlike other concerts this year, will have a live audience. Due to the live audience, this concert will not be live streamed, but family members are encouraged to come and listen to music outside while being appropriately spaced out. 

Just hearing the warm ups, and hearing the kids listening, and interacting and making changes, and hearing the harmonies, integrate with each other. It was honestly hair raising.”

— Joel Bryan

“There’ll be an audience there, you know, I’m encouraging them to bring a picnic if they’d like and just enjoy a nice evening outside and have music making and and being together in the way we can outside right now,” Bryan explained.

Music classes are difficult to conduct when they are held during a virtual class period.  Now that students are back in person, it is much easier and enjoyable to be playing and creating music together. 

“Just hearing the warm ups, and hearing the kids listening, and interacting and making changes, and hearing the harmonies, integrate with each other. It was honestly hair raising. I didn’t know how much I missed it, until I had it back. And I think a lot of it. I think a lot of the students are noticing that too, it’s just, it’s fun to do this together,” Bryan said. 

The pandemic has changed the course of the school year for all classes with the option to log on virtually. Due to the necessary involvement of all students in band class, playing together has changed quite a bit. 

Knighton explained the online students’ role in class, “they’re kind of just like playing along without their sound on so we can’t really hear them so it’s kind of weird having the different parts.”

Bryan reflected on the year, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned with COVID, it’s how much music can bring people together. . . And that element of creating art, where you’re an equal contributor, but it’s also bigger than just your own idea. I think there’s a lot of power in that. I think we’re really enjoying that together.”

 https://stillwaterbands.net/wind-ensemble/

Pull quote: “Just hearing the warm ups, and hearing the kids listening, and interacting and making changes, and hearing the harmonies, integrate with each other. It was honestly hair raising,” Bryan said.