Local wind ensemble selected for state conference performance | VailDaily.com

Local wind ensemble selected for state conference performance

The Eagle Valley High School wind ensemble was selected to demonstrate high achievement in music education

The eight-piece from Eagle Valley High School at the annual Colorado Music Educators Association conference.
Patrick Sheehy/Courtesy photo

A student wind ensemble from Eagle Valley High School was selected as one of 32 school bands to perform at the annual Colorado Music Educators Association conference at The Broadmoor last week.

Each year, the association gathers music teachers from around the state for four days of clinics to help support and inspire educators for the upcoming school year. As part of this initiative, the event features live performances from student groups of all ages representing the best of the best in local music education. Schools from across the state send in audition videos the previous spring and a panel of educators from each district selects the top performance groups.

“What we offer in the way of performances at the conference provides inspiration for that first rehearsal after the clinic/conference as well as an appreciation for the effort these young musicians have committed themselves to in order to provide a concert that demonstrates the highest level of achievement,” the CMEA website states.

This year, Patrick Sheehy, the music director at Eagle Valley High School, sent in an application for the first time, submitted a recording of the high school’s wind ensemble, an advanced group of seven wind instruments accompanied by a drummer. Sheehy said that he created the advanced group for juniors and seniors to give the students new music to explore and push themselves with. The conference was an ideal opportunity to share their success.

 “It’s just a great experience for them,” Sheehy said. “Top performing groups across the state come and perform, college groups perform, and so it’s just a great venue to perform in a place where what you’re doing is very much appreciated because it’s all music educators.”

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While the majority of groups selected to perform are large choirs, orchestras and bands, Sheehy said that the wind ensemble’s audition was so well-received that they created an additional performance slot for them at the opening session of the conference. On a small stage specially selected for the eight-piece ensemble, the students performed Heatherwood Portrait, St. James Infirmary, Minueto and Rhapsody in Blue.

“I’m just so proud of these students because they’ve stuck with it during, obviously, some very challenging times for music programs over the last couple of years,” Sheehy said. “I’m proud of them for making great music in a small group setting and not worrying about whether they’re the biggest band. Size isn’t always everything. They make good quality music, even though there’s only a few of them.”

The wind ensemble will perform their annual spring concert in April and a popular music concert in May.

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