Band to perform Christmas concert Monday


photo by Kate Haas

Junior David Howe plays fundamentals during a concert band rehearsal on Dec.10. Before working on music, every band class practices breathing, buzzing on brass mouthpieces and playing fundamental exercises to develop the sound of the ensemble.

Band will perform a Christmas concert on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

The wind symphony, symphonic and concert bands are all performing a variety of tunes. The selection ranges from typical Christmas pieces to other works like “Sleep” by Eric Whitacre, a choral song, and an arrangement of “Auld Lang Syne,” which many will recognize as the New Year’s Eve song. 

“[Auld Lang Syne] is super pretty, super slow,” senior alto saxophone Ekdev Rajkitkul said. “I think it’s really pretty, especially in the winter-time, and it kind of makes me feel like I want hot cocoa. It’s very intimate.” 

Rajkitkul enjoys all the pieces, but prefers the wind symphony tradition of performing “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson to close out every Christmas concert. 

“‘Sleigh Ride’ is 100% my favorite,” Rajkitkul said. “I get to blast during the swing part. What’s really special about it is it’s a tradition, and it’s nice knowing that I finally get to play it again for the last time. Also the trumpet horse whinny at the end — so good.”

Because of the trip to Indianapolis for the Band of America Grand Nationals Championships, the bands have lost two weeks of preparation.

“Knowing [band director Andy] Sealy, I think everything will come together, and it’s getting there so far,” Rajkitkul said. “Even though we’ve had two weeks less to prepare, I think one thing about the band is that everyone can just get it together. I have no doubt it’ll go OK.” 

Band students also just completed auditions for the TMEA All-Region Band on Dec. 7. Students have been practicing the audition etudes since July. 

“This whole semester we’ve been preparing for Grand Nats as a band, but also individually, everyone’s been grinding for All-Region,” Rajkitkul said. “Those two things were such a big priority for everyone, including the directors. Now that they’re over, we only have two weeks left, but having that be over for most people has settled things down. I think people are enjoying sitting down and playing their concert band music.” 

Rajkitkul said band alumni are special to the program, and the students get to see many of them at the Christmas concert because college finals are over and students are home for the holidays. The auditorium regularly overflows with family, friends and alumni for band concerts. 

“I think it’s really sweet how many alumni come,” Rajkitkul said. “They all come back from final exams, and I think it must be comforting to see their past friends and see them perform. I’m not happy it’s my last Christmas concert, but I’m grateful to have done this for four years. I’ll definitely savor it and enjoy it. It’s really nice to play for parents, siblings and past alumni in a more intimate setting than running around at 172 bpm.”