by Abbie Altena and Sienna Attema
The PCHS music department has had a busy fall, starting with the band’s performance on Veterans Day, along with the start of JOY buddy groups, practicing for SCIBA auditions, preparing for the Bluegrass and BBQ Fundraiser, and for the Christmas Music Concert. Also, students from both band and choir rehearsed and auditioned for the All-State Music Festival.
Eleven PC musicians auditioned on Oct. 20 for the 2018 Iowa All-State Music Festival, but only two were chosen, sophomore Carson Breon and freshman Nia Hoekstra. Breon was one of 600 students in the chorus and Hoekstra on the clarinet was one of 269 student musicians in the band. Only 17 percent of musicians were selected to perform at the Nov. 17 Festival at Hilton Coliseum.
Breon looked forward to the experience of participating in the 2018 Iowa All-State Music Festival. “I was most excited to be a part of something bigger than just a choir,” said Breon. “I was excited to be surrounded by high schoolers that were dedicated to singing and had the same love for it as I did.”
Hoekstra also looked forward to performing with other high school students as committed as she is. “I was really excited about getting to play with other Contra-Altos! I am the only one in the band who plays my instrument, and it was be really fun to be able to play with others,” said Hoekstra. “I was also looking forward to learning a lot about my instrument and how the balance of the band makes a difference.”
This winter the band is hoping to bring joy into the lives of senior citizens. Just Older Youth (JOY) buddy groups are smaller groups within the band who connect with older people in the community by playing for them on their birthdays and Christmas. This will be starting up in December with the groups playing Christmas carols at homes of senior citizens. JOY buddy groups gives the senior band members an opportunity to be leaders to underclassmen. “Relationships are developing in these groups. Other than D groups, this may be the only opportunity for some kids to get to know someone in other grades,” said band director Shannon Dykstra. The band also brought joy to Veterans on Nov. 12 when they performed an Armed Forces Medley at Hy-Vee for their annual Veterans Day breakfast.
Ten instrumentalists from PCHS auditioned for SCIBA, South Central Iowa Bandmasters Association, at Roosevelt High School on Nov. 29. Any band student who was willing to put in extra practice was allowed to audition for SCIBA.
The Bluegrass and BBQ Fundraiser, which was held on Dec. 1, was put on by the band to raise money for their trip upcoming to Minneapolis. Band students set up tables and decorated for the meal. At the fundraiser, attendees enjoyed a BBQ dinner and listened to banjos played by the Benson family, who use their music to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The fundraiser was great! The BBQ feast prepared by Bonnie and her crew was yummy and the Benson Family Singers were funny and entertaining. The band raised a significant amount to help with the cost of the band trip to Minneapolis and Bethel University,” said Dykstra.