HOPE – What was resurrected three years ago with scarcely enough students to field a marching band has grown into an award-winning bands program in the Hope Public Schools that put seven concert bands on stage for the program’s annual winter concert Dec. 12.
Among the more than 300 young musicians, 11 junior high students have won All-Region placement in concert performance this year and two high school students have won All-Region jazz performance seats as the concert season gets underway.
Junior high All-Region concert performers include:
Kayla Wyatt, tuba, second band, second chair.
Jair Salgado, tenor saxophone, second band, third chair.
Jena Brown, baritone, second band, fourth chair.
Angelica Soto, flute, second band, 11th chair.
Jesus Santamaria, flute, second band, 12th chair.
Jessie Hernandez, clarinet, second band, 18th chair.
JaMiya Sanders, clarinet, second band, 22nd chair.
Wynter Smith, alto saxophone, third alternate.
Sarahi Acosta, clarinet, eighth alternate.
T’Khyah Walker, clarinet, ninth alternate.
Senior high All-Region jazz performers include Richard Ware, piano, second chair; and, Brandon Gallegos, tenor saxophone, first alternate. Ware also qualified for All-State competition.
The program offered Dec. 12 on the main stage at Hempstead Hall was as varied as the tastes of the holiday season, with the Hope High School Jazzcats starting the show with “Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” which was reprised in concert style later by the Hope Academy of Public Service Intermediate Band.
The Beryl Henry Elementary School Beginning Band, perhaps, the largest group of the night, performed “Jingle Bells,” “Up on the Rooftop,” and “Reindeer Boogie,” followed by the HAPS Beginning Band with “Santa’s Angry Elves,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Jingle, Jolly Christmas.”
The HAPS Intermediate Band followed with a classical piece, “Dona Nobis Pacem,” and “Jingle Bell Rock,” plus “Let It Snow, Let It Snow.” The Yerger Middle School Concert Band kept the program light with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Holly, Jolly Christmas.”
Among the most difficult programs of the night was performed by the HAPS Advanced Concert Band, beginning with the James Bondesque “Secret Agent Sugar Plum,” complete with a strikingly similar backbeat to that of the Bond theme. “The Christmas Song,” a mood favorite followed.
But, the surprise of the evening was the HAPS Advanced seventh and eighth grade students’ rendering of an arrangement of the “Ode to Joy” movement from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, with solos by Jesus Santamaria (flute), Alex Hernandez and JaMiya Sanders (clarinet), and Gustavo DeLa Rosa Jr. and Gizelle Alonzo (alto saxophone).
The Hope High School Concert Band concluded the evening with “Joy,” “Blue Christmas,” and a mellow rendering of “Christmas Time with Charlie Brown.”
HPS Bands Director Julie Gladden is assisted by Vincent Flieder, junior high bands director, and Michael Herron, assistant director.
More than 300 musicians now comprise the seven concert season bands of the Hope Public Schools some three years after the program had fallen to its lowest participation in years. The program across four of the five campuses of the HPS is under the direction of Julie Gladden, with junior high director Vincent Flieder and assistant director Michael Herron. – Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools