Uh oh… We’re in treble!
Sara Dressman ‘15
How can someone prepare a concert in 13 hours with a group of strangers? This event, also termed Southwestern Ohio Catholic Honor Band(coined SWOCHB for short), is a dynamic experience that enhances musical experience for talented musicians. This concert preparation and the concert itself take place in a single weekend! Students are chosen for this honor ensemble by nomination from their band directors. I was nominated, along with Giorgia Close ’16, to participate in this event. Originally my band director, Brian Fischer, formed this annual honor band ensemble because his students were persistently being cut from District 14, a prestigious honor band group for high school musicians in the tri-state area. Jason Umberg, the band director from Bishop Fenwick high school, co-chairs this ensemble with Brian Fischer.
This year, SWOCHB was held at Elder high school. SWOCHB was hosted here because Elder has the facilities to host two ensembles, unlike many of the other high schools that are invited to perform with SWOCHB. This year was the first year that SWOCHB also had a grade school honor band as well as a high school ensemble. Typically with honor bands such as this, a guest conductor is invited to lead these groups. The guest conductor for the grade school honor group was the recently retired band director of Milford high school, Paul Schrameck, and the guest conductor for the high school honor group was the recently retired band director at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Dr. Terence Milligan.
Before our concert on Sunday, Dr. Milligan gave the honor group a pep talk saying, “No performance in the history of man has there ever been a perfect performance”. Dr. Milligan then recounted an anecdote of his performance with a previous ensemble in which a bass drum fell off its stand and rolled through the ensemble during a concert. Our performance mishap during the concert occurred when the music of our first chair clarinet player, Eli, fell off his music stand at the beginning of Ammerland. However, Eli overcame this experience because he had memorized the majority of his music and picked up his music when he had his next chance to.
Overall, SWOCHB was a fantastic opportunity filled with many new friendships and knowledge gained from this weekend experience.