After a full season of entertaining crowds at every Millers home football game, the Millburn High School bands began working on their concert band repertoire in November in preparation for their first of two annual concerts.
The MHS Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and two Symphonic Bands, which involve about 200 students, performed their songs at the concert on Wednesday, which was a huge success.
The bands are under the direction of Mindy Scheierman, MHS Director of Bands and conductor of the 2011 All-North Jersey Honors Symphonic Band, and Matthew Spatz, MHS Associate Director of Bands and Chair of the New Jersey School Music Association’s Band Division.
Spatz and Scheierman both exhibit exceptional ensemble leadership, dedication to the program, and constant willingness to help every member of every band. As a student of both, I know that it is because of passion and hard work that the band members performed so well on Wednesday.
The Concert Band, the freshman ensemble, rehearses daily with Spatz. They performed a great program that featured their large ensemble, including five students involved in this year's Region ensembles. They performed “Royal Air Force March Past,” “The Battle Pavane,” “Moscow 1941,” and the rousing “Fire Dance.” While most freshman bands of the past have only performed three songs at this concert, this year’s band played four songs.
The MHS Wind Ensemble is a select group of accelerated band students who rehearse with Scheierman during regularly scheduled class periods multiple times per week and on scheduled evenings. A plurality of Wind Ensemble students is also involved in Region or All-State ensembles. Their impressive repertoire at Wednesday's concert featured some of its senior members. Senior saxophonist Spencer Hirschfeld was featured in Reed’s “Ballade,” and senior French-horn player Gabe Gordon along with senior trumpeter Joe Wang were featured in Persichetti’s “Divertimento for Band,” which consisted of five movements. This year’s Wind Ensemble student assistant is Catherine Budish, senior euphonium player.
The sophomores, juniors and seniors that are involved in the band program are equally distributed into two symphonic bands that rehearse daily with Scheierman.
The first Symphonic Band, which rehearses during sixth period, performed the up-tempo march “The Flying Squadron,” the woodwind-heavy “Black River Overture,” a homage to American folk tunes in “Americana Folk Suite,” and closed with a rhythmically intricate “Persistence,” a crowd-favorite.
The second Symphonic Band performed “Winter Dances”, their own “Americana Folk Suite,” “Awakening Hills,” and the concert-closer “Intrusions.”
The MHS Music Boosters are again offering CD recordings of Wednesday's concert.
You can view select excerpts from the concert by following this YouTube link.
The MHS bands still have plenty of performances this school year. The Millburn High School jazz bands will be featured at this year's Pops Concert on March 28 and at the 13th Annual Night of Jazz is on May 3. The Concert Band, Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Bands will present their Spring Band Concert on May 23 to close out the year.
In a year when the MHS band program was the most represented at the selective Region I honor band and wind ensemble, and when many students were active in the All-State and All-National honor bands as well, the program affirmed its supremacy of the northern region with such intricate harmonies and outstanding musicianship presented at the concert.