Honor band weekend

Audra Kooi — Staff writer

On Thursday, Feb. 16, a special group of visiting high schoolers made their way to the B. J. Haan Auditorium — each carrying an instrument in hand. During the days following, they worked with Dordt University’s Director of Instrumental Activities Onsby Rose and Defender Band Director Allegra Fisher to perform in the second-ever Dordt University Honor Band Weekend.

Rose started the annual honor band as a way to welcome young musicians to campus and create an opportunity for them to play with other talented musicians and experience what it is like to participate in an ensemble at Dordt. Fisher worked with the students in the Honors Symphonic Band, and Rose worked with those in the Honors Wind Symphony.

Students were nominated by their directors to participate in the honors ensembles before Christmas break. Then they received audition music for placement which had to be recorded and sent in.

“Some of these kids do not have a full wind symphony back home,” sophomore Molly Galema said. “For some of them, this is the first time they are playing in a full group.”

Galema is one of the student workers who prepared for the honor band weekend.

It was also a time when prospective Dordt students could meet other musicians considering the program. Several current freshmen in music ensembles at Dordt participated in the honor bands last year.

“I really connected with Sonya Hansum that weekend,” freshman Leah Hostetler said. “Now she’s my roommate!”

Meeting people is not hard when you are in three-to-four-hour rehearsal sessions with each other. The honor band took place over a weekend to make it easier for students to attend, regardless of how far they lived from Dordt’s campus.

Each night, the honor band students listened to a different performance by one of the ensembles at Dordt. Thursday night, the Campus Community Band performed several of the pieces they are preparing. On Friday, the Wind Symphony gave the high schoolers a taste of the music they will be recording and taking on tour this spring. Joan Ringerwole Chair of Church Music and Organ Carrie Groenewold played the organ for students, and several had the opportunity to go up to the organ loft with her.

The musical weekend ended on Saturday afternoon when the two honor bands performed themselves. Following each group’s performance, the respective director announced the winners of the Outstanding Musician Awards. These awards are given to sophomores, juniors, or seniors, and they guarantee a $4000 minimum music scholarship if the winner attends Dordt, regardless of their major.

This year’s Honor Band Weekend has come to a close, and high school directors are encouraged to submit nominations for next school year.

Contributed photo

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