As things are winding down for winter break, the Houston Middle School Band stays bustling and busier than ever. Throughout December, the HMS band has lent their fantastic musical stylings in a variety of venues to a variety of patrons.
The band began their jam-packed season with a special holiday concert hosted by Houston High School. In addition to the classic Jingle Bells and Jolly Old St. Nicholas, the band also had the opportunity to premiere a brand new piece of music entitled Gradiant. The piece was inspired by the scientific basis of its title in physics and mass, and the new age style granted students the chance to explore an entirely different way of playing music.
Next up, they had a special guest speaker, Kameron Whalum, local Memphis musician and graduate of Overton High School. Mr. Whalum spoke to band students about his career--member of Bruno Mars Hooligans, as a trombone player and background singer. His career has taken him on tour with Bruno Mars and he has performed at the Super Bowl. Mr. Whalum spoke to both choir and band students at Houston Middle School.
In the theme of the group’s everyday “grit n’ grind”, the band showcased their efforts at the Memphis Grizzlies game. A combination of seventh and eighth grade students were expected to learn, practice, and memorize the national anthem through their own personal initiative and only practiced once the day of. For the third year in a row, the group performed magnificently, a personal score for the program.
The band then moved on to dedicate their talents to a more philanthropic cause. Volunteers from the band replaced the typical bell-swinger for the Salvation Army fundraising jars outside of Kroger and instead serenaded passerby with Christmas classics for the cause. Last year, the group was able to raise three times the average amount earned by these jars, and those who participated are optimistic of a similar, if not better, outcome. The students, alongside some high school alums full of holiday cheer, also particularly enjoyed talking to those enjoying their music who shared stories of their own experiences a part of band or with the music.
inspirational to band students HMS Band Director Spencer Nesvick said, “It was really inspirational to the band students to feel this sense of community with the music and the people they were playing for".
All this fantastic work far from slows down come springtime. Students are currently preparing for All-West auditions, hoping to continue in their record of most students admitted from one school, and preparing for their spring concert festival in March. Through a grant from the Germantown Education Foundation, the band room has been updated and now has a smart tv which can be utilized by students to help in their musical prowess, and funds provided by the Germantown Performing Arts Center are allowing for a spring symphonic camp with a college professor to even further enrich these students’ musicality. All these resources, combined with students’ passion and initiative, we are certain the spring semester will be just as successful as the current one.