Bucks Band to host virtual concert

BUCHANAN — Buchanan Community Schools students have been learning remotely for nearly four weeks. However, remote learning and COVID-19 will not be stopping the middle and high school bands from giving a unique, virtual concert series.

Both the Buchanan Bucks Middle and High School bands will perform a “Home for the Holidays” themed concert online next week.

“Pulling it together has been a labor of love, on all of our parts,” said Deanna Russell, director bands for BCS. “[The students] will be able to walk away from it having still put this music together.”

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the Middle School Winter Concert will debut online. On Wednesday, also at 6 p.m., the High School Winter Concert will have its own debut.

As students will not be in one room performing together, there will be another visual aspect to the experience.

“Students are sending photos of themselves as they are working on preparing for the concerts,” Russell said. “They are submitting photos of themselves with the ‘home for the holidays’ theme. Think Christmas sweaters, to really sell that warm, fuzzy feeling when you about being home to celebrate.”

The student musicians have gotten firsthand experience as studio artists in preparation for the concert.

“The students have been using Soundtrap software, recording their own parts by themselves,” Russell said.

Once the recordings were received, the band director and assistant became audio engineers. The songs have been edited together to create the full band sound, with each of the 150 students involved in the two bands included.

“I don’t think that any of us thought a year ago that we would like to perform a virtual concert,” Russell said. “All of your band members have to learn their music on their own, and then you have to put every individual’s recording together, but here we are. We are fortunate enough that our administration saw the value in getting a high-quality music education in school and at home.”

Russell said having the technology available for just this circumstance has been a great experience.

She has also seen students working together during the Google Meet classroom sessions.

“We are able to share with them what we have found [as educators], and the students are able to share with each other what they find works,” Russell said.

The concerts will play live on the YouTube platform, and be linked from the Buchanan Bands Facebook page. They will stay up on the channel and be available to enjoy watching again.

“My job as band director doesn’t end with showing technique,” Russell said. “I’m showing [students] how to adapt and handle when life throws them a wildcard. They will walk away from this having something to show for it. Every day, I am increasingly proud of the people they are becoming along the way.”

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