The hard work of the Chester Grade School Beginning Band students culminated in a most excellent inaugural concert Thursday, Dec. 2, at Chester High School's Colbert Gymnasium.
Sue Colonel, CGS Band and General Music director, introduced the 53 beginners to open the concert and noted that they had achieved wonderful success during the first semester in spite of numerous barriers, mostly COVID-related.
The new group of musicians includes 10 flutes, 16 clarinets, 6 alto saxophones, 9 trumpets, 6 trombones, 1 baritone and 5 drummers/percussionists. This is one of Colonel's biggest groups of newcomers in recent years.
Flutes include Clementine Benson, Bailey Cross, Maycie Dickerson, Josie Gaertner, Brenna Hammel, Julie Jackson, Nancy Jardines, Vanesa Jardines, Kaylee Luckhaupt and Arabella Mallendar.
Clarinets include John Adams, Virgil Bainter, Sophia Bert, Emma Bogard, Lucas Buskirk, Hadlie Cushman, Natalie Draves, Harlow Ebers, Lucas Farmer, Ariel Freeman, Yamilett Fuentes, Pedro Hernandez, Maritza Ixcoy, Jaylyn Jausel, Peyton Moll and Morgan Nanney.
Alto Saxophones include Jolynn Frazer, Jackson Liter, Isaiah Lyons-Obryan, Danny Santay, Kingston Turner and Natalie Venus.
Trumpets include Kynzlee Barnes, Derek Coffey, Adam Essman, Larne Luchavez, Kaitlyn Rommel, Zander Thomas, Jaclyn Tucker, Ty Tindall, and Luke Whitehouse.
Trombones include Miles Dunaway, Derek Junger, Edgardo Lazer-Colon, Preston Liefer, Sebastian Sheridan and Keegan Stauffer. The lone baritone player is Edwin Garcia.
Percussionists include Natalie Eggemeyer, Logan Hoskin, Lucy Ixcoy, Blake Korando and Cole McDonald.
Colonel began the performance by praising the new band members for doing such a good job in spite of some fairly difficult COVID restrictions. Colonel stated that the first several songs or parts of songs being played described how the new students were introduced to their instruments.
The progression of songs being performed at the concert followed the newcomers' graduated introduction to music and the actual playing of their instruments. "Our First Sound," "The First Note," "Two's a Team," "Moving on Up," "Four by Four," "The Fab Five," and "First Flight" demonstrated how the rookie musicians had progressed and improved from the first day of band until the inaugural performance.
Colonel then had the students demonstrate various notes while they performed, "Essential Elements Quiz," "The Half Counts," "Hot Cross Buns," and "Rolling Along."
Colonel praised several students for coming to her and expressing the willingness and desire to play a solo or in a small ensemble feature during the concert.
"I usually have to beg students to play a solo. Not many new musicians are able or willing to get in front of a large crowd at this time in their musical career," Colonel said. "I have had so many students volunteer to perform tonight that we had to form small ensembles to be able to allow everyone to be featured that wanted to."
Six ensembles performed in the concert, including a flute and clarinet performance of "Mozart Melody," a saxophone ensemble performance of "Go Tell it on the Mountain," a low brass ensemble performance of "Old MacDonald," a clarinet ensemble performing "Au Claire De La Lune," a flute ensemble performing "Good King Wenceslas," and a clarinet ensemble performance of "Jolly Old St. Nicholas."
"I am very proud of each of these students and the ensemble performances. You all did a great job and I look forward to future performances," Colonel said.
To close the concert, the Beginning Band performed three songs as a group, including "Split Decision," "Listen to Our Sections," which featured the various sections of the band, and "Jingle Bells."
Colonel praised the band for doing such a fine job and assured parents that when the Beginning Band performs in the spring, they will be even better and more proficient than they are now.
The entire concert experience was deemed a huge success! Everyone took a bow prior to leaving the performance area.