Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SEMO hosts second annual honor band festival

Monday, February 27, 2023
Music performance major Angel Evans teaches high school student how to play timpani music.
Photo by Paige Broyles

On Monday, Feb. 27, high school students from the Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois area gathered at SEMO’s River Campus for the second annual honor band festival for a day full of rehearsing music, learning new techniques, and sectionals with professional musicians.

This event is held to help high schoolers interact and play with other musicians from other schools, help high schoolers see what a college band is like, and also allows for SEMO Music Education Majors to interact and teach the highschoolers.

These groups spend the morning and afternoon rehearsing music to put on a concert in the evening. The SEMO Wind Symphony performed after the honor bands in their concert on Monday night.

Director of bands Jim Daughters has been in charge of putting this event together for the past two years after its long hiatus. SEMO used to host Summer Camps and Spring Honor Band many years ago, but just started hosting honor bands again last year, Daughters said.

Daughters said that it takes many months to plan an honor band festival.

“We start preparing around October. That’s when we send out the form for the bands. The band directors pick their students and nominate them. Our student helpers designate jobs to other SEMO students, we arrange for guest conductors to come in as well as clinicians,” Daughters said. “The wind symphony starts preparing their pieces at the beginning of the semester.”

Daughters said we have 34 high schools attending from Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky which equals out to about 200 students. Students are split up into two separate bands, the gray band and the red band. When the day of honor band comes, the staff has to get students signed in, shirts passed out, getting students from point A to point B and organizing meals. It’s a lot to plan and it takes a lot of help from our students, Daughters said.

Students from SEMO's Music Education department as well as Wind Symphony helped throughout the day with jobs like band management, stage crew and registration.

“I love meeting all of the high school students, I also love watching the SEMO students interact as well as the high school kids interacting with each other. These kids for the most part are all strangers, so it’s fun to not only listen to them make music together but interact with one another,” Daughters said

Junior music education majors and wind symphony students, Ashleigh Green and Nathan Prater are being trained to be Sr. Band Assistants. They helped plan the event, assigned jobs and performed with the wind symphony, Monday night.

“There’s a lot that goes into this. Nathan and I have to make the schedules for our students. We have to assign jobs we have to work with facilities to get everything we need and get the rooms set up,” Green said

Both Green and Prater had to take into consideration SEMO students when creating these schedules.

“We didn’t want them to have to miss out on any class,” Prater said.

Green and Prater said student jobs were assigned based on what the student wanted to do.

The high schoolers were given the music when they arrived on campus Monday morning. The honor bands were given about six hours to prepare three to four pieces of music for the concert, which is usually done over the course of three or four months.

“I’m impressed with them! When you think about it, they've only had six hours to prepare a whole concert's worth of music. They seem a little scared but they’re high schoolers on a college campus. It's like a bunch of little fish in a big pond,” Prater said.

The gray band performed four pieces titled; “Aztec Fire,” “Falcon Fanfare,” "Flashpoint” and "On Joyful Wind.”

The red band performed three pieces; “Halcyon Hearts,” “Rippling Watercolors,” and “An American Fanfare.”

The wind symphony performed a condensed version of what they are playing for their concert on Tuesday which included; “Khan,” “Sound Asleep” and “Third Symphony: Finale.”

This was Green and Prater’s first big step into becoming senior assistants for the marching band, so this would be considered a success, Green said.