By: Nick Austin, Allison Rigler
The NCBA (Northern California Band Association) held their 62nd annual Solano County Honor Band over the weekend (January 8th-January13th). The Honor Band includes students from all high schools in Solano County. Students are required to submit an audition that includes memorized scales and excerpts of a specific audition piece. Once a student makes the Honor Band, he or she is notified and is expected to start practicing the concert music. The band only has three practices as an ensemble to get the music performance ready. These practices include a 9-5 rehearsal the day before the concert. The Honor Band always has a guest conductor that comes to work with the students on the pieces and conduct them in performance. This also gives the students a chance to be led by someone else other than their usual band director. The guest conductor this year was Dr. John Zarco, a band director from the University of Texas in San Antonio. He grew up in Vallejo and was apart of the county Honor Band for 2 years so this was a special experience for him. The Honor band held a total of 118 members and 52 of those were from Benicia.
In three days the Honor Band put together a full concert set lasting almost an hour. First was Cyrus the Great by Karl King, a quick and riveting march featuring much of the brass. Second came Magnolia Star by Steve Danyew, a fast paced song about a train by the same name that ran from New Orleans to Chicago, bringing jazz and blues with it. Sleep by Frank Tichelli was next, telling the sad story about a family who lost their child. Closing up the set came Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger and First Suite for Military Band by Gustav Holst.
The participants all agreed that this year was one of the best years because of Dr. Zarco and his passion about his music choices. He was kind and enthusiastic and everyday when he was with us told us to continue music in our lives, the way he approached the music with us yielded a very successful honor band weekend.