Everything came together for a terrific evening on Thursday, April 29, when the members of the Maryville High School and Maryville Middle School bands joined to present a 50-minute outdoor concert at the amphitheater in Bicentennial Greenbelt Park.
Bill Burke, Maryville Middle School band director, said about 1,000 folks turned out for the event. “It was a gorgeous night, really nice,” he said.
Tom DeLozier, Maryville High School band director, said the students have been doing the outdoor concert 14 years now.
“The kids really look forward to it. I tell them it is an opportunity for them to do a concert for the community, and it is always a beautiful setting down there,” he said. “We had a big crowd, and the weather was perfect.”
Burke said the middle school students played the national anthem and the Armed Forces Salute and veterans were recognized for their service. The band finished up with a couple of pop tunes.
“We had a percussion ensemble that played the piece entitled ‘Jive Potatoes.’ It sounded like marching drums and had that kind of feel. That was a popular, fun piece,” said Burke.
Burke said the seventh and eighth grade bands combined, so approximately 150 students represented the middle school on stage for the first part of the concert. The high school had about 135 freshmen through seniors on stage, and they played the second half of the concert.
Burke said the high school students had two feature pieces that were real crowd favorites -- “Lassus Trombone,” a Henry Fillmore tune featuring the trombones section, and “God Bless the USA.”
“We brought the entire trombone section out front for ‘Lassus Trombone.’ It was a catchy crowd favorite,” he said. “Then we finished with ‘God Bless the USA,’ and Sara Lawson sang a solo. It was a really big hit, and the crowd really appreciated it.”
Burke said the band programs at both schools have grown throughout the years and regularly receive superior ratings at competitions. They are also very active. “We just finished a trip to Ohio University for a clinic, and then spent a day at King’s Island amusement park in Cincinnati,” he said. “There were a lot of activities this year.”
Burke said students who participate in band are committed and disciplined, qualities that serve the students well regardless of what careers they pursue. “It’s a tremendous amount of work, but there’s also a lot of pay off,” he said.
DeLozier said the band students are always enthusiastic. “They know when they work hard and have the opportunity to present it, they get immediate feedback. When audience response is good at a football game, it is gratification for hard work,” he said. “That’s what makes what we do more unique than other classes in school and that is attractive to lots of kids.”
DeLozier said the family atmosphere also draws students. “We work hard but the results are fun. We try to keep the music enjoyable yet educational and all those factors play into it,” he said. “We are fortunate we teach a class where the kids like to be there.”
The Maryville High School Band members who made All-State Band include: Alex Colclough, a senior who will play the tuba in the Pride of the Southland Band at the University of Tennessee this fall; Krista Kennedy, sophomore; and Bixby Kennedy, a senior headed to the University of Indiana to play clarinet on a performance scholarship.