On March 13, the Port Washington School District held their District Band Spectacular at the Tilles Center. The event, which was sponsored by Hearts and the Ed Foundation, takes place every three years, with the orchestra and band alternating performances.
The District Band Spectacular is a district-wide event in which students from all five elementary schools in the district come together to form one band. Following these students’ performance is the middle school band, which played several pieces before handing the stage over to Schreiber’s Concert Band.
The Concert Band performed an advanced piece that the band had been working on for several weeks. After they played this arrangement, the other bands joined the this band on stage to finish the performance in a grand finale.
Prior to the spectacular, there was a lot of anticipation and excitement for the event.
“There’s been a lot of hype, all the bands have been working for months and it’s a pretty big deal considering this is the last time the upperclassmen will be performing at the band spectacular,” said junior trumpet player Julia Brickell. “The pieces are challenging but I think it’s gonna be a nice concert.”
A special aspect of the District Band Spectacular is that there is always an accomplished guest conductor who leads the majority of the pieces. This year the conductor was Dr. Eric Laprade, assistant of music and director of bands at the College of New Jersey.
Two days prior to the performance, Dr. Laprade visited the various bands in Port in order to rehearse before the spectacular. This offered an opportunity for the band students to work with a different, very qualified, and experienced conductors.
“I thought it went really well. It is not easy to play in a space that you’re not used to, especially having the grades all together. It came together really, really well, and all the levels played really outstandingly,” said Freshmen and Concert Band conductor Mr. Shane Helfner.
With this District Band Spectacular occurring only every three years, as previously mentioned, many view it is a very special occasion. Many strongly agree with this claim as the event enables students involved in band programs across the district to play in a large performance hall, the Tilles Center, for a very large audience.
“This event is a great way to show off what our band program can do in such a grand environment. Even though it was a little nerve wracking at first to play at the Tilles Center, the bands were able to really play well and make the show worthwhile,” said junior band member Jack Sambursky.
After the performances finished, the band members received rounds of applause from attendees. Many students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play in such a large and professional environment and see bands of all ages perform.