Student musicians take the stage at UNCW for band clinic and concert

Published 8:01 am Monday, February 28, 2022

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More than a dozen area students were on the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus weekend before last to participate in a North Carolina Bandmasters Eastern District band clinic and concert.

It was a chance for student musicians from across the region to come together to learn new music techniques and concepts while rehearsing several music selections. The weekend ended with a Saturday afternoon concert by each group.

The North Carolina Bandmasters Association was established in the late 1930s and is the official band section of the North Carolina Music Educators Association. The Eastern District, covering almost everything east of Interstate 95, is the largest of seven districts with schools in 30 counties. The 360 students from more than 70 different schools participating in the February 18-19 session auditioned for a seat earlier this year. Only the top scoring students were selected for the two-day clinic.

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Performing to a crowded Kenan Auditorium audience, students were divided into four sections: middle school concert band, middle school symphonic band, 9th and 10th grade high school band and senior high 11th and 12th grade band.

According to one source, the weekend was geared toward helping students learn their instruments, broaden their playing ability and expand their appreciation for different types of music.

Guest conductors for the weekend included Cristina Rekeibe from Red Oak Middle School leading the middle school concert band, Paul Murtha from Calabash leading the middle school symphonic band, Gregory Shreckengost from Richlands High School leading the high school 9th and 10th grade band and Dr. Margaret Underwood from Western Carolina University in the finale leading the senior high 11th and 12th grade band.

“Without the involvement of parents and local band directors this would not be possible,” said Karen Matthews, president-elect of the association. “It is parents and the regular band directors that enabled these students to play at the level they are.”

Underwood added that it’s not an easy task to mold so many students into a uniform group in just eight hours, but having the best of the best helped.

Each Saturday afternoon concert included four or five selections, and after a few sound checks the auditorium was soon filled with 30 minutes of music as students tapped feet and nodded heads to keep time. A nearly full auditorium also had numerous phones held up recording videos of the students.

There were also a couple of high fives between students after an unusually difficult solo part went without a hitch. And some of those solo performances were amazing displays of talent.

Overall the resulting quality of sounds made it hard to believe these were middle and high school students.

Area participants in each of the four divisions included:

Meadow Oshier (Moyock Middle School) – Flute
Kayla Austin (Manteo Middle School) – Clarinet
Peyton Harris (Currituck County Middle School) – Trumpet
Cody Bayne (Cape Hatteras Secondary School) – Mallet Percussion

Elisabeth Writtenbery (Manteo Middle School) – Flute
Kiyana Green (Currituck County Middle School) – Flute
Emily Jo Harris (Currituck County Middle School) – Clarinet
Simon Syrrist (Cape Hatteras Secondary School) – Baritone

Sofia Oshier (Currituck County High School) – Alto Sax
Heath Miller (First Flight High School) – Horn
Rylee Oberbeck (Cape Hatteras Secondary School) – Horn

Sydney Guns (First Flight High School) – Flute
Clara Oden (Cape Hatteras Secondary School) – Flute
Elizabeth Muller (Cape Hatteras Secondary School) – Clarinet
Courtney Morgan (Currituck County High School) – Clarinet
Danielle Phillips (Currituck County High School) – Horn
Collin McInerney (Currituck County High School) – Horn
Damien Gregory (First Flight High School) – Trombone
Dylan Seamster (Currituck County High School) – Baritone

Local band directors with participating students include:

Robert Lamberg at First Flight High School, Sean McCroskey at Cape Hatteras Secondary, Felicia Felice at Manteo Middle School, John Weeks at Currituck High School, Patrick Koppenhaver at Currituck County Middle School and Serah Levin at Moyock Middle School.