By Rick Palsgrove
Members of the Groveport Madison High School band program are getting out into the community to share their music.
First, some band members, dressed in costumes in the spirit of the holiday, performed at the city of Groveport’s outdoor Halloween block party on Oct. 31.
Then, on Nov. 13, the Cruiser Jazz and Percussion Ensemble performed at Groveport Town Hall.
“The band students are talented and I thought there might be people in our community who may not know the high school has more than a marching band,” said Cristy Duckworth, Groveport Town Hall program coordinator, about inviting the band to play at Town Hall. “I wanted to share their talent and give people a chance to be entertained. Our ballroom at Town Hall is the perfect place for folks to enjoy a free concert, plus it gave the students a chance to play in a different environment and for a different audience.”
The ensemble performed well with soloists showing their improvisational musical skills during many of the songs played for the large audience at Town Hall. An interesting twist featured eight drummers playing plastic trash cans and plastic buckets for one song.
Katie Cordle, a junior trumpet player – who is also in the marching band, pep band and is first chair in the symphonic band – said she enjoys performing for an audience.
“I like to see the audience’s reaction,” said Cordle. “Our performance is for the audience.”
Cordle said music is important to her because it allows her to express herself and be creative.
“I’d be bored without music,” she joked.
She said she has diverse tastes in music, but especially likes upbeat rock and slower symphonic music.
Cordle took up the trumpet in the summer before she entered sixth grade.
“My mom played trumpet and I was so excited to learn it,” said Cordle. “I like the tone of the trumpet. It can be brassy or smooth. It’s a diverse instrument. It’s sound is out there and carries the melody.”
Members of the Cruiser band program will also perform when Santa Claus arrives at Groveport Town Hall, 648 Main St., on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m.
“The band will be a part of Santa Night at Town Hall on Dec. 2 starting with the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m.,” said Duckworth. “They will play outside close to the ice carving. We’re hoping this will help set the festive mood. Families can watch the ice demonstration and enjoy the music before coming inside to take part in the children’s activities and visit with Santa.”
The Cruiser musicians performing at Santa Night will be a brass ensemble.
“This year we are starting a Holiday Brass Ensemble which will be performing at Town Hall for Santa’s arrival,” said Groveport Madison High School Band Director Bart Pickenpaugh. “Tentatively, we are also thinking about going out into the community and
performing on Dec. 10, however this is not set in stone yet. It’s just something I have done in years past at the schools I have worked and the community really seemed to enjoy it.”
Also, the band program will perform its holiday concerts at Groveport Madison High School at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 (Middle School North band), Dec. 7 (Middle School South band), Dec. 8 (high school concert band), and Dec.12 (Middle School Central band). There will also be a solo ensemble concert at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the high school.
Pickenpaugh said community performances by the band are a way for the band to give back to the community.
“The community supports the band program with purchasing items from our fundraisers, participating in events, and passing levys to keep the program going and this is one of our ways we can give back to the community and show our appreciation for all they do,” said Pickenpaugh. “This type of thing also teaches the students to give and not think about getting all the time.”
Pickenpaugh said performing music presents challenges to the students.
“All of the ensembles are based around our Concert Band, so the biggest challenges are that the students must learn additional music and allot more time for these performances,” said Pickenpaugh. “Some of these ensembles play outdoors and deal with lots of moving.”
Pickenpaugh said music and live performances are vital to students’ personal growth.
“It teaches them that this experience can only be created at that one time with those performers,” said Pickenpaugh. “Each performance is different due to many factors and not one performance is the same each time they perform that show. The live performance experience is crucial for that reason.”
Above all, he said, playing and listening to music is a bonding experience.
“Performances such as these in the community help bring people together for the common interest of music,” said Pickenpaugh. “These musical performances help communities build a sense of pride about what they have.”