Westwood Horizon

Band Earns Four Sweepstakes at UIL

By Ethan Lao, Yearbook Designer

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Throughout the month of April, Westwood Band competed in the UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Evaluation at the Pflugerville and Georgetown Performing Arts Centers. During the spring concert season, students play in one of four different ensembles: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, and Wind Ensemble. In the competition, each of these bands first perform a concert consisting of three pieces, one of which is a march. Following the performance of the three pieces, bands showcase their sight-reading skills, where they are given a brief time period to study a piece of music they have never seen before, with guidance from the band director. After looking over the music for the designated time, they immediately perform the piece. All four bands played exceptionally, receiving lots of praise in the judges’ comment sheets.

The Concert Band and Symphonic Band were the first band ensembles to compete, traveling to Pflugerville on Tuesday, April 16. The Concert Band opened with Peace Jubilee by Karl King, followed by The Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre, and J.S. Jig by Brant Karrick, a modern mashup of pieces originally written by the Baroque composer J.S. Bach. Later that day, the Symphonic Band performed Bou-Shu by Satoshi Yagisawa, The Hounds of Spring, an exciting piece with a slow lyrical section in the middle, by Alfred Reed, and Three Celtic Dances, a three-movement work based on irish folk music, by Brian Balmages.

The Wind Symphony competed the following day, April 17, beginning with the march Galop by Dmitri Shostakovich, followed by Strange Humors, a contemporary piece with African and Middle Eastern influences, by John Mackey, and Give Us This Day, an intense two-movement work by David Maslanka. In the Georgetown Performing Arts Center the following week, April 24, the Wind Ensemble played March from Symphonic Metamorphosis by Paul Hindemith, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, most famously known for being used in the 1940 Disney film Fantasia, by Paul Dukas, and Starry Crown by Donald Grantham, a jazz inspired work rooted in deep south gospel music. Each of the band directors carefully selected these pieces to be both challenging and fun for the students.

“I think everyone in the ensemble was passionate about our selection of music which set us up for a performance we were proud of,” Jason Math ‘19 said.

The bands have spent dozens of hours preparing the music, beginning work on several of the pieces as early as the start of the semester. Some, like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice or Give Us This Day, have already been performed during the band’s Symphonic Camp in February.

“I think it was very rewarding to see all the hard work that our band was put through pay off and to see all the band members happy with our placement,” Costaki Skevofilax ‘20 said.

Following sight-reading, bands grouped up in the foyer of the Performing Arts Center to celebrate their performance and to hear the results from the band directors. Every band scored division one ratings from all six judges, earning a total of four sweepstakes awards at the competition.

“Overall the experience of going to UIL was enjoyable,” Pranjal Adhikari ‘20 said. “Being able to perform what we’ve been working on for the past months and getting the results we got was satisfying.”

About the Writer
Ethan Lao, Yearbook Designer

In my spare time, I enjoy the fine arts, especially music and art. My hobbies include playing both piano and saxophone, as well as playing in various sports. When I have some time, I work on arranging and scoring songs, especially jazz. My favorite subject is math, and to some of my friends, I am known as a music geek.

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