Senior Bands, Jr. Jazz shine at Nationals

On Friday, May 16, the Senior Concert Band headed out to Richmond to compete at Musicfest, a national competition. Just a few weeks earlier, the band received a gold level rating at Kiwanis to earn a spot in this prestigious competition.

The Senior band had just come off a rough week of rehearsal’s due to the fact that many individuals were missing because of AP exams and outdoor education. The rehearsals before the competition were strenuous as players tried to regain their sound quality and technical skills. Musicfest could not have been put at a worse time of the year, yet the Band pulled through during the rehearsals prior to going. The Senior Band went to the festival with three pieces: El Camino, Prelude and Rondo, and Florentiner March. Earlier that week, the grade eight and nine bands also competed at Musicfest earning a silver level standard. Determined to show the rest of the school who the top dogs were, the Senior band was ready to put their show on the road.

When the band took their spot on the stage, nerves were high and the pressure was on. The  boys were focused from the first note to the last note playing with great passion and musicianship. Following their great performance, they finished off the festival with an impressive sight reading and an overall gold standard.

Having won the title of “Most Outstanding Band in BC” at Kiwanis, the St. George’s Wind Ensemble already had extremely high expectations going into Nationals. On top of that, however, only one other high school band in Canada qualified for Musicfest in the top category (called B600, same as the Wind Ensemble. The Senior band was in the B500 group). Even more incredible, almost every other Saints ensemble that competed at Nationals last week received a silver rating. One could say that the Wind Ensemble had their work cut out for them, but that would be an understatement. Nonetheless, every member of the Wind Ensemble stayed calm, focused, and confident throughout the competition.

Performing as the final competitor of the week, the Wind Ensemble played in front of Dr. Matthews, Mr. Lawrence, several highly esteemed adjudicators, some past members of the Music Department who have now graduated, as well as nearly a full house of other spectators. As a musician in the band, I (Zachary Levin) can speak for the energy level during the performance – it was high. From beginning to end, every single person in the group accurately hit every note exquisitely and with the utmost care and expression.

After the performance, the Ensemble still had to hit the sight-reading portion out-of-the-park. Fortunately, our boys did just that as one adjudicator stated that the Wind Ensemble had the “some of the best sight-reading I have ever heard.” After all was said and done, the group walked away with a gold rating at nationals. To top everything off, the Wind Ensemble received the award for having the most outstanding percussion section of any band from the entire year of music festivals. Congratulations to those four amazing musicians and all members of the St. George’s band program!