One last band performance

Seniors play in final concert of the year


Photo courtesy of Millard West Bands Twitter

Millard West concert band, symphonic band and wind ensemble come together for their last performance of the year in the auditorium. The concert was the seniors’ final time on stage. “There were some hiccups here and there, but that’s just kind of how it goes, and we recovered really nicely,” senior Sophia Hakeman said. “It was overall a really good performance. The “Irish Tune” was like tradition so that was really nice to finally be able to play.”

Morgan Weir, Editor-in-Chief

The Millard West band put on a performance in the auditorium at 7 p.m. on May 2, 2022. It was the final performance of the year for the concert band, symphonic band and wind ensemble.

After receiving ratings of all ones at districts, this concert was a relaxed, pressure-free opportunity to showcase their skills and close out the year. For seniors, it was the final show of their high school band career and the last time they would share the stage with their fellow band members. Along with their other pieces, seniors were allowed to choose one song they wanted to play. This year’s seniors stuck with the school tradition of choosing “Irish Tune,” a classic arrangement composed by Percy Grainger.

“I really enjoyed the music overall,” senior Sophia Hakeman said. “It was probably some of my favorite pieces. It was more emotional since this was a lot of the seniors’ last concert because we had districts two weeks ago, so that was more about playing for precision and this one was more for us.”

Along with a celebration of the band’s year of competitions and performances, the concert was a display of the musical improvement the seniors have demonstrated throughout their time in high school.

“They have just grown over the past four years, and the motion and musicality they play with now is just amazing,” band director John Keith said. “Just seeing the expression they can put into the music — when they’re young, in their freshman year, they’re kind of timid, they’re afraid to put that expression in. As they get older, they just really buy into it and just really make some beautiful music.”

They played a variety of pieces with more emotional overtones than they typically play. For one of their pieces, Ola Gjeilo’s “Meridian,” the band played with an accompanist: Millard West music department faculty Dawn Rogers. Rogers was featured on piano during the song, and it was her first time performing at a concert with the band. The experience benefited both audience members and band members, who were able to develop their ability to play alongside a soloist.

“It’s good for them to have that experience because that’s a good skill to have,” Keith said. “The band has a big sound, so they have to learn to play without covering them up. They have to be aware of where they need to be musically.”

The blend of new experiences and old traditions made for a memorable final show for the seniors and their friends and families in the audience. Seniors were recognized during the show and given white roses to commemorate their last time on stage.

“I’ve been doing this for four years with some of my best friends, and I won’t get to do this again because we’re all going to college or just going to different places,” senior Preston Ward said. “We just really wanted to make sure every song was performed as best as we could possibly do it.”

Jazz band will have their final performance on May 16. Seniors will carry both the skills they’ve learned and the memories they’ve made as they prepare to leave high school.