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By Heidi Tanner
Special to The PREVIEW
The third annual Band-O-Rama, hosted by the Pagosa Springs Community Band, is this Saturday at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium. Band-O-Rama features the middle school and high school bands along with the Pagosa Springs Community Band.
The Pagosa Springs Community Band currently has over 30 members who are eager to play for you. The band will be playing Cuban composer and piano virtuoso Ernesto Lecuona’s famous last movement of the Andalucia Suite, “Malaguena.” The arrangement of “Malaguena” the band will be playing features many of our players on solos throughout the piece, such as Karl Mesikapp on the euphonium and Jarrett Chaney on the clarinet. This is a familiar and exciting piece that is sure to be enjoyed.
Dan Burch, music director, Pagosa Springs High School, will be conducting the high school jazz band and the high school concert band. Dan and his wife, Venita, moved to Pagosa Springs in 2006. Dan grew up in Colorado and moved to California to attend college. He completed his B.A. in music and then completed his Masters of Music at Azusa Pacific University. He worked in Huntington Beach at a church as the music director and in a private school as the band director for 26 years.
Burch is in his seventh year in Pagosa as the high school’s music director and is at the helm of the school’s concert choir, concert band, jazz band and guitar class. In addition, Burch is the worship leader at Pagosa Bible Church and the director of the Pagosa Springs Community Choir.
The high school band students have had a busy year to date and have more activities to come. They gave both fall and Christmas concerts during the first semester of this year. Twelve of the band students participated in the Fort Lewis Honor Band in February, which is a two-day event where the kids joined other students from schools in our immediate region to prepare for a concert given at the Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College.
The jazz band then participated in the Fort Lewis Jazz Festival and placed well in competition against schools of similar size. After Band-O-Rama, the high school students are headed to the Music in the Parks competition in Denver May 16-18. This is a three-day trip where the students compete against other schools from around the state. Both Burch and his students have been working hard throughout the year to raise money to pay for this trip.
The high school students will finish out the year with their final concert on Thursday, May 22, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
Regarding his teaching program, Burch states that he has hopes in the future that more students will compete at the all-state band audition level. Acceptance into the all-state band is a high achievement in the school music world. Students compete with kids across the state for a spot in the all-state band. If you make it to the all-state band, you earn the privilege of working with a high-level professional conductor for three days at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to reach the all-state band, but the rewards last a lifetime. Another goal Burch is targeting is replacement of some of the school’s auxiliary percussion instruments.
Burch mentions, “Our marimba is cheap and falling apart and needs to be replaced. We also need a set of chimes and could use new metal music stands.”
Donations will help replace some of these instruments and equipment.
The high school bands will be offering selections paying tribute to American composers and performers. The high school concert band will be playing “Satchmo! A Tribute to Louis Armstrong,” one of the icons of American music, while the jazz band will treat the audience to “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Louis Prima. Prima is an American performer of Italian descent who was a songwriter, vocalist and trumpet player whose career spanned the 1930s-1970s, leaving a strong imprint on American jazz and swing music.
Come and join us for a fun and enjoyable evening of concert band music. Don’t forget that one of the highlights of the evening will be Bill Gottschalk and his alto sax playing “Over the Rainbow.” See you at the high school auditorium Saturday evening, May 10, at 7 p.m. Admission is free, though donations will be gratefully accepted.