Morenci band to join forces with Camden-Frontier and Reading 03.16.2011

Written by David Green.

The whole is more than just the sum of its parts. The synergy involved can create something new.

That’s what the school band directors from Morenci, Camden-Frontier and Reading are expecting when they join forces for a series of three concerts, starting this week in Morenci.

The three small bands will work together to create a new sound.

“We’re calling it the ‘Masterworks Series’ since we’re playing some classic music for band we wouldn’t normally be able to do in our own small bands,” said Morenci director Jamie DeVoe.

Each band has practiced the music on its own, but on Saturday the groups met in Camden for a mass rehearsal from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The first concert is scheduled at 7 p.m.  Thursday in Morenci. The concert in Reading is scheduled March 22 and in Camden March 24.

The concert came about through the friendship of the three directors.

“I went to college with the other two directors and we decided that all three of our small but talented bands could combine to make one good sized, really nice sounding band,” Mr. DeVoe said. “This combination meant we could play some really great literature that we normally wouldn’t be able to do because of our size.”

The late February ice storm canceled this year’s district band festival and Mr. DeVoe sees this project as a good alternative.

“I think it will be even more useful and educational than band festival,” he said. “We get to play some standard, high quality music that we aren’t able to do at band festival for various logistical reasons and rule requirements.”

Each director will conduct one piece, and when they’re not conducting, they will play along with band.

Reading’s director, Jeff Szekely, will conduct “English Folk Song Suite” by Ralph Vaughan Williams. His wife Shelley, who serves as Camden’s director, will conduct “Salvation is Created” by Pavel Tchesnokov. Mr. DeVoe will conduct Gustav Holst’s “Moorside March.”

To fill out the concert, soloists and chamber groups from each school will perform. Students from all three schools earned first division ratings at this year’s district solo and ensemble festival and will advance to state competition.

“Saturday we even created a saxophone quartet with a player from each of the schools that will also perform,” Mr. DeVoe said.

Morenci’s Elaina Pruzinsky (alto sax) and Ben Hutchison (baritone sax) are part of that group.

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