Showing off their sound in Eagle-Vail |

Showing off their sound in Eagle-Vail

Charlie OwenVail, CO, Colorado
AE BMHS Musicians 2 DT 11-9-07

EAGLE-VAIL, CO High school can be traumatizing enough without the stress of being labeled a band-dork. Okay, so maybe that stereotype isnt as potent as it once was, but it doesnt necessarily make you any cooler.Or does it?The musicians may never have it as easy as the jocks, but playing an instrument no longer means wedgies in the locker room.The students in the Battle Mountain High School music program know the power of music. They are young and they are talented. This Thursday night at the BMHS auditorium they will showcase their skills for the schools Music Extravaganza.The performance next week is the culmination of all of the music classes for the first trimester, said Lewis Stahl, music director at Battle Mountain High School.The event will showcase the choir, drum line, guitarists and band. The audience can expect classical as well as contemporary works.

These days, music programs arent just about notes and scales. Students are learning songs by Led Zeppelin and Carlos Santana alongside Mozart and Beethoven. The rules have changed to keep up with the times.Sydney Idzikowski, 14, plays the clarinet in the band and her favorite piece to perform is Enter Sandman, a dark selection of heavy metal by Metallica.Its fun to play pieces that everyone knows, Idzikowski said.Keeping the beat for the band is Cliff Rodrick. Hes been playing drums for three years and can see himself playing in a rock n roll band someday. But for now, hes focused, and takes direction from Stahl on a piece for the upcoming public performance. When asked what he likes most about playing one of the more cool instruments in the band, he responds with: Its fun and you have to think ahead of yourself and read the music ahead and hope that you wont make a mistake.Ever since his first visit to Vail from Indiana while a teenager, it was Stahls dream to return to the valley. That dream came true two years ago when he took over the vacant position of music director for Battle Mountain High School. With his extensive background in music and teaching, Stahl has brought a new vision to the school and his students are excited about the changes as well. The progression has been astounding, Stahl said, especially our guitar classes and drum line class. Many of the students have no musical training at all and within two months are performing exceptional pieces.

But with all that he has to be proud of right now, Stahls goal is to expand the music program not only at Battle Mountain, but at schools around the county as well to include full orchestra and symphony classes.Were just building the music programs right now. When I came here there wasnt as much going on with music, Stahl said.Now there is, and the students are the ones who get the most from Stahls dedication. Its nice to be a part of a group where everyone is so closely connected to each other, said Mauri Cummins, 15, who will be playing violin during Thursdays performance. This doesnt keep her from feeling like her band mates dont get the recognition they deserve, however. Theres more in the yearbook about other school clubs, she said, even though we practice just as much as the football team.The football team will not be making music come Thursday night, though. That honor belongs to the music students.Arts & Entertainment writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or

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