Finding harmony with ensemble performance

Even though a solo was what I really wanted, working together for UIL has been a blast

Finding harmony with ensemble performance

Mahala Higginbotham, Breaking News Editor

At first glance, my part in Symphonic One’s UIL music isn’t much to look at.

Being a third part trumpet in Symphonic One never bears the best or most important parts of any piece. The simple rhythms and beginner notes just weren’t enough for me when I first got them. So after playing this music for the first few times, my complaints commenced.

Regionals (a solo competition)  had recently concluded when we got the music, and I wasn’t yearning to participate in “full band” activities. The rush of playing a solo was what I wanted, so the idea of playing background or counter melody for the entire band wasn’t what I had in mind.

But what I got was what I earned for being fifth chair, and there was no point in complaining. After realizing that and looking past my broken-hearted ego, I finally started to enjoy the music.

Walking into the band hall was lively and enlightening. Playing the music with the rest of the band sent a thrill down my spine and put a smile on my face. The simple enjoyment of playing my instrument with others doing the same around me was satisfying.

Most days in band class aren’t fun and games, but they are pleasant nonetheless. During rehearsals, Mrs. Czerwieski (the jaunty, expressive band instructor) practically hops around her podium while instructing us, turning the occasionally sleepy student into a completely alert performer.

Part of rehearsal is playing your piece for the rest of the band. Only once I had to play a solo, and that was because the other third trumpets left to get water or go to a private lesson. Other times, I play with my fellow trumpets or other instruments together.

The pieces we are playing include “Variations on ‘Scarborough Fair,’” “Hypnotic Fireflies” and “Chicago World’s Fair Centennial Celebration 1933.”

For me, these pieces have become one of those friends that you want around all the time one day, and you want to kill the next. Most measures are joyful to play, and I love to play them over and over again, but others I hate to the depths of my soul.

I have grown to love all of the UIL music equally, but it is a love for the feel of the music, not the music itself.

Of course, my journey with these UIL pieces has been anything but easy. Sectionals (a time out of school hours where you practice your instrument with others in your section) have always, and will always, be irksome. Trumpet sectionals lately have contained practicing objectives and working on the “March,” which is the most difficult piece for the trumpet section.

Recently in a sectional, Mrs. Czerwieski decided to “promote” me to sixth chair to help the other two third trumpets not mess up as much, especially during sight-reading (an activity in which you get a piece of music for the first time, and then you play it with the rest of the band for judges). This role is an honor, and I am very thankful that she trusts and counts on me enough to do something like this.

On March 20, we had Pre-UIL, and it went OK. Basically what happened was we played our pieces and did sight reading for actual judges. After we performed, one of the judges had a rehearsal with us, and helped us with a few gray areas throughout the pieces.

The actual UIL competition will take place on April 10. I think we will perform amazingly, and we will be prepared. I believe in our bands.