It’s been quite some time since I have provided an update regarding the activities here in our music department so I thought I would take a moment to pass along some kudos to our fine student musicians.
During second semester our main focus is centered around band festival activities and traditional concert band/percussion ensemble music. Back in March we held a two day festival on campus that featured approximately 25 schools from all over southern California. We refer to this festival as our district festival even though schools from outside of our district are encouraged to participate. The Wind Ensemble, our upperclassmen heavy group, played up to their usual standard and earned unanimous superior ratings including a superior rating in sight-reading. The real pleasant surprise was our Concert Band, our frosh/soph group. For the first time in the history of our program, the Concert Band also earned unanimous superior ratings…also a superior rating in sight-reading! I was super proud of all the students and especially our younger musicians.
Since both groups earned superior ratings at the district level festival, they were eligible to participate in our regional festival held last week. Only groups that earn superior ratings are invited to regional festival and I decided to register both of our groups despite a bit of initial trepidation regarding our younger band. My anxiety was heightened slightly by the fact that we only had three weeks to prepare for regionals and the requirement to participate involves changing at least one of your pieces that was performed at district festival. Of course, my concert kids, the young ones, decided they wanted to learn TWO new selections of the three pieces we needed to prepare so I was quite nervous initially. They worked very diligently during those three weeks and their hard work paid off in another round of unanimous superiors for BOTH ensembles.
Not only was Lakeside the only school in the district to earn unanimous superior ratings at both district and regional festivals, we were also the only school to have our training ensemble (concert band) receive unanimous superior ratings as well. Kudos to all the hard working student musicians in both groups!
We have also been busy with our percussion program. Last Saturday we hosted our second Percussion Day Celebration. We had student ensembles from LHS, Murrieta Valley HS, and Paloma Valley HS perform and participate in concerts and clinics held by area professionals and university professors. Cal State Fullerton brought their entire percussion ensemble as well as the principal percussionist and timpanist from the Pacific Symphony in Orange County. Cal State San Bernardino, MSJC, and Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles were also represented throughout the day. This event was entirely organized by our percussion advisor and campus security team member Keith Stickney and an associate of his from Murrieta Valley and Paloma. Keith did a superb job in providing an invaluable experience for our area percussion students and somehow pulled this off without any cost to the participating kids! Kudos to Keith!!
This past Friday we had our 2nd Annual Jazz Dinner Dance. This formal affair featured our outstanding jazz ensemble along with the lovely and talented Mrs. Valerie Geason on vocals and alumni member Ryan McDiarmid on drums. Since leaving Lakeside, Ryan has been tremendously successful having graduated from USC with a Jazz Performance degree and playing and touring with the Glen Miller Orchestra. He has been volunteering much of his time working with our jazz kids and providing outstanding mentorship to our students this year. The night was a big success but…we would like to see some more of you out there next year! We serve a very nice meal and the kids just played spectacularly…it’s really a lot of fun!
Finally, if you missed the jazz event…we will be playing for the Lakeside Jazz Club (not school affiliated) at the Elks Lodge on Mission Trail this Sunday at 3:00pm. This has turned into an annual event for us and it is very well attended. Get there early if you would like a seat. Valerie will be singing, Ryan will be drumming, and the kids will be swinging! Hope to see you there! There is a nominal fee to attend if you aren’t a member of the club…I think it’s 5 bucks or so.
Thank you to everyone for your support of these fine young people! Teachers for assisting them in staying on top of their work and demanding performance schedule, front office staff for continuing to push through your day without the use of the announcing system on festival days, administration for allowing us to hold festivals here and share our amazing facility with area schools. It makes a tremendous impact and difference in kids’ lives and I really appreciate all of your help and encouragement!
Director of Instrumental Music