The last band concert of first semester took place on January 23rd, when fourteen students filled the stage equipped with a multitude of instruments. This year’s band is comprised of three trumpet players, two saxophone players, a flutist, three guitar players, one bassist, four percussionists, and a trombone, with Mr.Wendelken accompanying on the piano. Freshmen Riley Williams and Ryan Downey make up the trumpet section, and sophomores Tadhg Cawley and Daniel Murphy perform the saxophone, while freshman Porter Corbett takes on the trombone. Freshman Marc Anthony Edwards, sophomore Jehren Buckley and senior Colin Harrington take the stage as percussionists, with sophomore Jordin Graves, junior Alecsander Volans, and senior Sawyer Phillips shredding on guitar. Senior Michael Humphrey ties it all together with the bass.
To kick off the night, the band opened with a rendition of “Uptown Funk” written by Mark Ronson, and arranged by Michael Sweeney. The rendition the 2014 pop single featured Daniel Murphy with multiple solos on the saxophone.
“I’ve been playing the saxophone for a couple years,” said the sophomore, “so it wasn’t too hard. My favorite piece to play was probably Norwegian Wood.”
Following a stellar performance of “Uptown Funk”, the band carried through the classic “Ain’t No Sunshine”, originally written and sung by Bill Withers, and arranged for the band by Rick Stitzel. This song was a crowd favorite, as Alec Volans highlighted the song with a colorful solo.
Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” made a debut in the arrangement by John Berry. The touching song was quite the choice for high school band, and brought across a genuine and heartfelt message to the older audience, many of whom grew up with Parton’s music.
To finish off the evening, the band took part in the original composition of Norwegian Wood by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. This concert marked the bands’ first use of a sitar, wonderfully maneuvered by Sawyer Phillips. It also served as Phillips last time performing under the guidance of Mr.Wendelken, as he will not be continuing the course into the second semester.
“It was cool,” Phillips looks back, “I’d played the sitar for two weeks before the show so it was definitely nerve wracking, the pros devote their whole lives to that instrument. It was gimmicky for sure, but so was when George Harrison was playing the sitar with the Beatles. I’m glad I got to play a Beatles tune at my last concert because they’re pretty much the best band in the world other than Black Flag, but Mr.Wendelken was never really down with the hardcore stuff. Plus we got to Reggae-ify ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.”
From another point of view, Phillips looks back in frustration. “I’m sad that the school requires gym, because I feel like a couple more band concerts would have been way more useful to me as a human being. Still I’m so happy I got as much time with Mr.Wendelken as I did. I’ve definitely grown as a musician because of him and his class.”
By Maeve Cawley