After months of practice and preparation, dedication and rehearsal, the Tri-County Honor Band, a group of 75 students from 11 different schools from three counties performed beautifully for an audience of parents and community members at Bridger High School. The March 19 concert featured a variety of complicated pieces from a wide spectrum of musical genres ranging from classical, to cultural, patriotic and dramatic.
The head conductor from Billings Catholic School, Glenda Newman began the concert with the classical and thoughtful piece, “Blessed are They,” from the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms.
The audience was captivated, but to really show off the talent, the band performed “Satiric Dances for a Comedy” by Aristophanes. Percussion, woodwind and brass instruments harmonized in this three-part spectacle of unique and lively sound.
After playing two more pieces, “A Basque Lullaby” and “Beyond Higher Ground,” assistant director and music teacher from Custer, Kathy Ruff conducted a compilation of Civil War songs, “The Blue and the Gray.”
Before the finale, the band performed a wonderful mix from the musical, “Les Miserables,” in which the audience could not help but to sing or hum along.
To end the concert, Newman conducted “A Salute to the Armed Forces,” asking audience members who served and/or are currently serving to stand-up as the band performed their branches song. Audiences applauded the four service members to thank them for their dedication to this country.
In the grand finale, the drums boomed, the instruments crescendoed and Newman had her hands in the air to signal the peak of the song, creating a great musical display. The moment the room became silent, audiences were on their feet applauding the band in a standing ovation.
Since their audition in Nov., the students selected have been practicing once a week for 1.5 hours at BCCHS Billings from Jan. to April. Despite the hard work, they enjoy the chance to meet and play with other talented musicians.
Trumpet player from Fromberg, Mitch Milliken explained, “It’s nice to play with experienced musicians.”
Newman said that the “Mini Tour” continues, as the band visits schools in Absarokee, Columbus and Red Lodge. However, Newman said that the “big” concert of the year will be at Lincoln Center in Billings on April 23, at 7 p.m., followed by their annual tour this year to Seattle.
“The purpose of the Tri-County Honor Band is to give students who have a desire to exceed in music a chance to play in a large band with students who excel at their musicianship,” Newman stated.