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DUHS band receives a I at festival

Published 9:19am Thursday, March 11, 2010

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

Dowagiac Union High School’s wind ensemble and concert band competed together at spring festival at Lake Michigan College Mendel Center Monday and received a I from judges for the second year in a row.

Director C.J. Brooks also led the Chieftain Marching Band to back-to-back first-division, or excellent, ratings.

DUHS carded I’s in the performance room and a II in sight reading.

“I couldn’t be happier. I’m really proud of these kids,” Brooks said Wednesday. “I told the kids that we’ve had two years of straight I’s, so they’ve set their own bar to that expectation every year, though I never want to take it for granted.

“With this group being 50 percent freshmen, they’ve got a great first experience in high school band. They’ve done a wonderful job for being young and inexperienced. They’ve stepped up to the plate. These freshmen are going to be great leaders.”

Every DUHS musician garnered a I (excellent) or II (good) Feb. 13 at solo and ensemble at Southwestern Michigan College.

Those with I’s can advance to state solo and ensemble competition April 17.

Earning I’s were: Chris Murray, saxophone solo; Murray, Mike McClenahan and Ryan Bassett, saxophone trio; Joey Van Tuyle, trombone solo; Courtney Klann, flute solo; and Toni Franco, violin solo.

“I didn’t even know she played violin,” Brooks said.

“She plays alto sax in our band and she’s in color guard in marching band. A very talented girl.”

Second divisions were awarded to: Elizabeth Headley, flute solo; Katherine Pielemeier, trombone solo; Easton Preston, alto saxophone solo; Hannah MacDonald, oboe solo; and Tony Swisher, trombone solo.

Brooks has no senior trumpet players in his young band. His lead player, a sophomore, signed up, but was injured.

“The next thing we’re working for is our spring concert (May 25) and Blossomtime (Grand Floral Parade May 1),” Brooks said.

Brooks said Dowagiac hosts a jazz band festival Tuesday, April 20, at the middle school Performing Arts Center expected to attract 10 to 12 area ensembles, including South Haven, Marcellus and New Buffalo.

Bands will also be performing at Dogwood Fine Arts Festival’s Fine Arts Night on Thursday, May 13.

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