Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017

Students to perform in honor band

Six Harvard High School band students will perform a brand-new musical composition written by the founder and conductor of the Keystone Winds Ensemble and composer Dr. Jack Stamp with the McHenry County Honor Band Saturday, Jan. 24, at Woodstock North High School.

Axel Cory, a senior, was selected to play alto saxophone; Danny Flores, a sophomore, will play baritone saxophone; Noah Keating, a junior, will play the oboe; Cossette Nawrocki, a sophomore, will play the flute; Elizabeth Perkins, a junior, will play the trombone; and Katia Schmitt, a senior, will play the flute.

“All these students have spent many hours rehearsing, and their hard work has really paid off,” Korey Coffer, Harvard High School band director, said of the group.

Perkins said, “It is an honor to represent Harvard. I am proud that I am getting the opportunity to play and show people how truly talented the Harvard band is.”

Coffer selected musical pieces individually suited for 11 of his students for the audition held in early December. They then performed these pieces as well as a new piece they were required to play without previously having seen the music.

Six of the 11 students were selected by the judges to participate in the Honor Band, and each was given his or her music before Christmas break.

“I only began playing the flute in my sophomore year … I practiced quite a bit, but I didn’t think I’d make it,” Schmidt said. “I wasn’t very nervous, because I didn’t expect to earn a place in the band, but I was very excited to have made it – and to be able to work with [Mr. Stamp.] … Mr. Coffer was really enthusiastic about it and that made me even more excited. I am so glad I made it.”

“The students will prepare over the next several weeks and come together as a group to rehearse,” Coffer explained. “Perhaps most exciting is that this year the conductor is Jack Stamp,” he continued.

Stamp is the professor of music, chairman of the music department and director of band studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Stamp is a popular composer and well-known throughout North America and Great Britain. “The McHenry County Honors Band has commissioned a new piece this year, so this is a truly exciting experience for the students. It has never been performed before – and he will be conducting the band as well,” Coffer said.

“It is really cool that he composed [this piece] just for us. We’ll know how he wanted it to be interpreted, and getting to work with the composer and learn what he was thinking and how he wanted it played is something [you don’t often get to do],” Nawrocki said.

The McHenry County Honor Band, featuring students from nine area high schools, will perform six pieces at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at Woodstock North High School, 3000 Raffel Road, Woodstock.

Admission is free.