Band’s hard work to produce sounds of Christmas

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, December 8, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Members of the Niles High School bands will get the chance to show friends and families the end result of a month of hard work tonight as the school presents its annual holiday concert tonight.
The school's freshmen, varsity and jazz bands will perform a variety of holiday music under the direction of first-year band director Steven Gruver.
During a last minute practice of the varsity band Tuesday morning, Gruver put the students through the paces, fine tuning their playing in preparation of tonight's concert.
Gruver said despite the high expectations for the holiday concert, he feels the students are up to meeting those expectations.
One of Gruver's responsibilities is to find music that will challenge the students technically, he said.
The varsity band will play a variety of selections including holiday classics like "Let it snow," "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson, and music from the musical "Les Miserables."
The freshmen band will play songs like "Frosty the Snowman" and highlights from the movie "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
The jazz band will change up the concert with jazzy interpretations of holiday songs, swing style music, and blues improv pieces written by the students.
Also performing at tonight's concert will be the Southwestern Michigan College Brass Band, directed by Dr. Jonathan Korzum.
Gruver will be on the other side of the conductor's baton when he plays trumpet in the brass band and assistant band director Ken Working, who plays tuba in the band.
Gruver said having the Southwestern Michigan College Brass Band play at the holiday concert will give the students in his band the chance to see how a professional band performs.
After the concert, band members will resume fund raising for the marching band's trip to Disney World during spring break of 2006.
Band members will sell Krispy Kreme donuts as a fund raiser item and after selling the donuts, students will sell Valentine's Day candy.
The band recently completed its biggest fund raiser of the year, its 43rd annual fruit sale.
But the marching band's trip to the home of Mickey Mouse and Pinnochio won't be all play and no work.
In addition to playing in the Main Street musical parade at the Magic Kingdom, the students will also attend numeroud performance workshops during the trip.
Students will receive instruction on individual preparation, team work, and how to effectively practice.
The band will also get a taste of how professional bands play when they get just one practice before a performance, Gruver said.
Perhaps the most unique experience the students will have while at Disney World is the chance to play in a recording studio where they will play along with disney songs and have their music recorded.
As for the holiday concert, Gruver said the concert excites him because it will be an indicator of theings to come for the school bands.