Article by Cadyn Tanis
Featured Image from https://www.istockphoto.com
December 15th was a night of excitement, festivity, and laughter as the Davie High Bands took the stage. The night started off with band director, Matthew Brusseau’s father coming on stage to demonstrate his “stellar” triangle performance.
The first band to play was the Concert Band. They presented three songs to the audience, starting off with the playing of a short and sweet song, “The Runaway Sleigh” by Robert W. Smith. The next song was the more serious “Moscow, 1941” by Brian Balmages, which tells the story of the defeat against the German invasion of Moscow during World War II. Lastly, they performed an invigorating song titled “A Christmas Tale: Beware the Krampus” by Randall D. Standridge. This song was by far the most entertaining of the night, as it included a few startling screams from the players, and a twisted narration by band captain, Jay Niland, whose performance had the entire auditorium in fits of laughter.
Symphonic Band, the intermediate band of the three, played next. They prepared five different numbers. The first was Jingle Bells Upside Down by J. Pierpont, and arranged by James Ployhar. The title itself captures the essence of the song. The next was the delicate “All Is Calm” by Robert W. Smith, a more modern take on the classic Christmas hymn, “Silent Night”, which included a beautiful piano solo played by Corey Dyson. The next piece was “Ukrainian Bell Carol” by Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovych, and arranged by Philip Sparke. “Whisper to their Souls”, composed by Samuel R. Hazo, was their fourth song of the evening, a melancholic tune based on the well-known ballad, “Greensleeves”. Yet the most memorable song they presented was the well-known and always enjoyable ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore and Jack Bullock. Similar to the Concert Band’s “Beware the Krampus”, this song featured a narrator. The narrator was Edwin Owens, a longtime supporter and integral part of the Davie High Bands. Amusingly, he crafted his holiday attire to match the enchanting generational tale of Christmas Eve.
As tradition, the Wind Ensemble was the last on stage. They performed five tunes, which began with the light and layered “Snowflakes Dancing” by Andrew Boysen Jr. The passionate and dramatic Dusk, by Steven Bryant, was performed next. This piece was especially important as Dr. John Ross, Appalachian State University’s Director of Bands and longtime mentor of Mr. Brusseau, conducted. Mr. Brusseau presented Dr. Ross with the honorable Davie High pin, to welcome him into the Davie High Band family. The next song was “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” arranged by Eric Osterling, a march that brought back the holiday spirit in the room. The fourth song was “Minor Alterations, No. 2: Carols From the Dark Side” by David Lovrien. This was by far the most challenging piece of the night. The song is a haunting medley of many classic Christmas songs. Finally, to end off the night, the Wind Ensemble performed Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, a timeless and enjoyable composition.
The band is now gearing up for All District auditions, which will be hosted at Davie High for the first time ever. Be on the lookout for the Davie students who make it into this esteemed band, which will be performing in February. Also start marking your calendars for the next band concert, Thursday, March 2, where they will perform their challenging MPA (music performance assessment) songs prior to their formal assessment.