UM Concert Festival

UM Concert Festival

Sentinel High School just sent four of their five bands to the first UM Music Festival in two years. Each and every band sounded amazing, and Sentinel band director, Lewis Nelson, managed to maintain a standard of excellence, despite the turmoil of the past years. It is truly inspiring. The Sentinel bands have been preparing the music they played at the festival for almost 3 months already. Most of them will continue to play the same music so they can take it on tour to California over spring break this year. The bands put their all into the performances, and it showed. However, beyond just Sentinel, there were schools from across the state who came to put on a show and receive feedback. 

The bands were of all different levels, yet they were all willing to try. The overall experience was amazing and being a part of it as a performer was fantastic. Not a single band did poorly, and the support shown for each was phenomenal. The adjudicator’s advice was fair, and receiving that outside perspective furthered the sound of the band and their progression that much more. 

The university was also kind enough to do a giveaway raffle for prizes such as basketballs, griz sweatshirts, blankets, and many other UM merch items. The band at the University also played a few compositions for the audience and they knocked it out of the park. 

The only issue was the fact that after Sentinel’s symphonic band and wind ensemble’s performances, they had to remain seated for the rest of the day. The performances as a whole seemed to go on for longer than the audience was prepared for. By the last few performances, some members of the audience were getting antsy and their behavior was not as respectful. Various adults disciplined these individuals, but the embarrassment was palpable.  

The music played was beautiful and was made even better by the band’s confidence. Getting on stage and playing an instrument can be daunting, especially in a room full of people who know what the instrument is supposed to sound like, or even what the music is expected to be. All musicians showed extreme bravery. Although some of the bands were definitely rockier than others, it was still amazing to see the talent they possessed and their potential for greatness.
Music programs have changed drastically due to the restrictions that have been placed on them. They are, however, slowly rebuilding their former glory, and possibly exceeding their pre-covid levels. The first step to do that is to get the bands back out there and playing. This band festival has initiated this first step. The music departments of Montana are starting a new chapter and slowly returning to normalcy.