The Avon Lake High School Symphonic Band is one of four bands from throughout the USA selected to perform at the 4th Annual Percy Grainger Wind Band Festival this weekend.
The band, under the direction of David Eddleman, will perform during the matinee on March 9 in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center.
“This is pretty big time,” Eddleman said. “I’m trying to impress upon the kids the magnitude of this.”
The band has also played at Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Eddleman applied last spring and was required to send in recordings from the past 12 months and include where the group has performed. He found out last May Avon Lake was one of three high schools selected. One university from Louisiana will also perform as will high schools from New York State and Minnesota.
“We have 57 in the band,” Eddleman said. Fifty are able to make the trip, which will span from Friday to Sunday evening. “This is an audition-based group. There are 140 kids in the program in two bands; this is the symphonic band.”
The band is comprised of woodwinds, brass and percussion.
After arriving on Friday, the band will have a clinic with Col. Arnald D. Gabriel, the Conductor Emeritus of the renowned United States Air Force Band. They have already been practicing for months for the event.
“We’ve had a whole bevy coming in,” Eddleman said.
That incudes Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony Director Dr. Gary Ciepluch and retired Avon Lake Band Director Harry Pfingsten. Many others have helped the students prepare, including Doug Day, Rich Pokrywka, Tom Tweedle, Geoff Anikienko, Dyanna Seabold, and Gary Adams.
The Symphonic Band is one of several instrumental offerings at Avon Lake High School. There are more than 650 students who participate in instrumental music in the Avon Lake City Schools.
Dr. John Knight, Oberlin Professor Emeritus of Music Education and Conducting at Oberlin College has also been in several times to help.
“Dr. Knight has been a great mentor,” Eddleman said. “He will conduct the Percy Grainger piece.”
The Symphonic Band will perform John Philip Sousa’s “Circus March” to open their program, followed by Claude T. Smith’s “Incidental Suite.” In tribute to Percy Grainger, the band will play “Children’s March”, subtitled “Over the Hills and Far Away,” composed in 1919. The Symphonic Band will conclude their program with Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium” and “Arabesque”, written in 2009 by Samuel Hazo.
The band will perform Tuesday evening at the March 4 Winter Band Concert at the Avon Lake High School Performing Arts Center starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door for adults and $1 for students/seniors.