Musicians shine in UM Honor Band

By Jordan Brown, Asst. Section Editor

Winning the final game of the season in any sport is pretty important, but for the kids who press keys and read music instead of pass balls and memorize a playbook, the closest thing to a championship is the University of Miami Honor Band, is a annual band festival where around 260 kids are nominated by their band directors all over Florida and, after rehearsing in three separate groups for two days, perform together at a concert on the last day.

Nominated students don’t get in just by nomination; they also have to audition for several judges, and then those judges determine their placement in either of the three groups.

“For the audition, we had to play three prepared excerpts that we received beforehand,” sophomore bass clarinet player Sean Durham said. “The prepared excerpts weren’t that difficult and focused on a specific skill like tone quality, rhythmic accuracy, musical expression, for example.”

The three separate bands, the Honor Band Wind Ensemble, the Orange Concert Band and the Green Concert Band, each had a different conductor, not necessarily from the UM music programs. The musicians were assigned, after their auditions, to certain chairs based on their skill level.

“I met a lot of talented musicians from Palm Beach County as well as some from the Tampa area” junior saxophonist Malik McGowan said.

Over the course of the two days, the students didn’t just rehearse and perform; they each also had the opportunity to take a master class on their individual instruments run by UM staff. The conductors included retired conductors, current conductors, the Associate Dean of the UM Frost School of Music and the conductor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“Being a part of the University of Miami Honor Band was a great chance to enhance my musical career at the high school level,” Mcgowan said.

On the last night of the festival, UM’s band performed, followed by the three separate high school bands.

“The overall experience was fun and a great way to increase my musical knowledge and meet new people and make new friends from all over Florida,” Durham said.

Posted: Apr. 6

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