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Hanover Bands Moves ISSMA Judge to Tears

On Saturday, April 15, 2023, the Hanover Central High School bands traveled to Kankakee Valley High School to perform at the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA). Three of the bands competed, including the beginning band, the intermediate band, and the advanced band. Many students are involved in one, two, or even all three bands. Mr. Lowry, the band director at Hanover Central High School, was very proud of all of the bands that performed. 


Each band that performs at ISSMA plays three pieces of music that they have prepared for that is performed for judges. They also play one piece of music that they must sight read, where they get 10 minutes to look over the piece of music, before playing it for judges. The judges score their regular performance and their sight-reading performance separately. Judges record their comments on an audio tape and fill out a scorecard, both of which are returned to the director for students to read and hear feedback from the judges. 


The beginning band played really well for their regular concert performance, including three pieces: Blue Ridge Saga by James Swearingen, Slane arranged by Douglas Wagner, and Raptor Rides the Whale by Andrew Perkins. They received a silver rating for their performance. They sight read a piece of music, where they received a gold rating for this performance. This was a huge accomplishment because the piece was a level above their skill-set. “They handled it really well. It was impressive that they were able to play such a hard piece of music, so quickly,” said Lowry. Holley Shepard, junior flute player in the beginning band, said “I am really new on flute, but I had a lot of fun working with the underclassmen. I expected the sight reading to go not that smoothly, but we kind of rocked it, for having such a hard piece.”


The intermediate band had a fantastic run through of their concert music. They played Jungle Dance by Brian Balmages, Autumn Light by Randall Standridge, and Imaginarium also by Randall Standridge. For sight reading, “Their sight reading was fantastic. They really enjoyed the piece and responded to my instructions very well. It was a lot of fun watching them work through it,” expressed Lowry. For their regular performance, they received a gold rating and for their sight reading, they not only received a gold, but they got a perfect score. Griffin Jakubowski, sophomore trumpet player, said, “We played with a really good sound. Their auditorium was different from ours, so adjusting to that was a bit difficult, but by the time we performed, it was great. Under the pressure of sight reading, I feel like we did a really good job.”


The advanced band gave an extraordinary performance of their three pieces, including: Basses are Loaded by Kelly Bennette, Silence Overwhelmed by Brian Balmages, and Flight also by Brian Balmages. The piece that they played for sight reading was also a success. Justina Guzman, junior bass clarinet player, said, “I felt that it was our best performance and we played really well.” Ainslie Hoelter, a senior trumpet player, said, “Sight reading the advanced band piece, oh… that was so much fun. We made the sight reading judge cry!” “When we walked into sight reading, they shifted and there was a focus. The piece was well within their range and it had such an emotional and energetic intensity,” said Mr. Lowry. The judge that cried told the students that the music was so intense, but the intensity on the students' faces is what made him emotional.


Fantastic job to all of our students that performed at ISSMA. Keep getting perfect scores and moving people to tears with your music performances.