WMU Spring Conference 2018

Emily Long, Staff Writer

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In April of 2018, the Three Rivers High School Symphony Band will be performing at Miller Auditorium for the Western Michigan University Spring Conference. The WMU Spring Conference is an annual event that promotes the performance, understanding, and composition of quality wind and percussion music. Each year at the conference, a guest composer is selected and featured through the event. Four ensembles will perform on the day of the conference: the Western Michigan University Symphonic Band, the All-Star Band, which is comprised of high school students across Michigan, and two guest high school bands. The two guest high school bands are selected and extended an invitation to perform based upon their recent performances and the band’s overall reputation.

The Three Rivers Symphony Band will be performing an hour-long concert with six pieces of music. “We are preparing thirty-five minutes of music to perform an hour-long concert. We began back in November, rehearsing difficult music that will allow the band to truly shine once we arrive at Miller Audiotrium for the performance,” said Mr. Bryan VanToll, the director of the Three Rivers Symphony Band.  The pieces the Symphony Band are performing in April at the conference include: “Who’s Who in Navy Blue,” a march composed by Sousa; “Kaddish,” composed by McBeth; “Shadow Rituals,” composed by Markowski; “Variations on a Korean Folk Song,” composed by Chance; “Csardas,” composed by Monti; and “Africa: Ceremony, Song, and Ritual” composed by R.W. Smith. VanToll selected pieces that highlight the many strengths of the band, and also selected works that would give the audience great variety. “I aimed to challenge the Symphony Band to push them to a new level of performace. The pieces are very challenging, and to reach a high level with these pieces is a challenge we are working to achieve,” said VanToll.

The members of the Symphony Band as well as Mr. VanToll are very excited to be given this opportunity and can’t wait to perform at Miller Auditorium. VanToll said,“I am very excited to be able to share the talents of Three Rivers Bands with a large audience. It will be a thrill to perform at Miller Auditorium. This will be a performance opportunity that the Symphony Band will never forget.” It is a significant achievement for the school to be considered for the event, and it could lead to other opportunities for the band program to be recognized as a leading musical group in the Southwest Michigan area. “I hope to be able to remember Spring Conference as a tuly memorable and moving musical experience for the students. If they are able to look back and remember the experience of performing there, appreciate the work it took to get there, and take something away from that, then it will all be very worth it,” said VanToll.

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WMU Spring Conference 2018