Band Concert So Good It Was “Stupid”


The time of year has arrived where all vocal and instrumental fine art programs are putting on a fall concert.  The Sentinel Band has been very busy this month with a marching show for homecoming and the yearly fall concert traditionally held in the Margret-Johnson Theater at Sentinel.  This year, four of the usual five bands performed the pieces they’ve been working on, as the groups were the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band.  Usually, there is a performance from the Percussion Ensemble as well, but instead, they were casually integrated into all the other bands.  At this same time last year, the bands were collectively having a concert in the cool fall weather while collectively playing what was supposed to be the 20′-21′ marching show, so to see the progression from outdoor marching performances to a primarily normal concert is progressive.  Only immediate family members of musicians were invited to the event, but I was lucky enough to witness the bands “throw down”, as  Band Director Lewis Nelson, would say.

The first performance was given by the Concert Band which primarily consists of freshmen and a few upperclassmen.  The majority of the freshmen in the band haven’t picked up their instruments since seventh grade due to the pandemic, so it was amazing to see what they could learn with only a couple of weeks of preparation. After playing one piece, the band was guided off the stage and the Jazz band was setting up directly.  The Jazz Band played three tunes with a breathtaking vocalist solo by our own Mars Johnson which was “so good it was stupid,” as stated by Mr. Nelson.  Every year with every concert the Jazz Band tops their performances, but this year was by far the most entertaining when it came to solos and a random scream by a saxophone player that added extra pizzazz like never seen before.

After taking a brief intermission to compose themselves and set up the stage for a “normal” band performance, the Symphonic Band took the stage.  The Symphonic Band is the middle group between Concert Band and Wind Ensemble, so there are people of all grades and all abilities in this class.  They too played a lovely piece that was widely composed of very fast-moving sections with the occasional lyrical moment, but it was a very well executed piece.  Harper Jontow played an astonishing, but short, solo that was finely performed under pressure.  After that song was finished, the Symphonic Band left the stage, and the Wind Ensemble took the crowd.  They played a festive piece that had the crowd in awe with a light note of lyrical performance before the madness of the last note.  It was a fantastic way to end the concert band performance.  After bowing and accepting applause, the bands moved outside to play the 2021-22′ marching show for the last time.

Even in the peak of fall weather, they arched up outside to play the marching show for the last time.  It was very exciting to see all bands of all musical abilities come together and share what is most’s first marching finale performance.  In addition to this successful performance, in spring break of 2022 the Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble are preforming in Anaheim, California for the first trip since the 2018 New York and Carnegie Hall.  Let’s all wish the bands good luck come March when they head into competitions between bands all over the United States.  Until then, the band will have Holiday songs ringing through their heads until the Holiday Concert.