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Winter band concert brings holiday cheer to Joliet Central High School

Members of the Joliet Central High School band were in snyc for bringing holiday season cheer to the campus community at their winter concert on Dec. 15.

Joliet Township High School band director Don Stinson said the event is hoped to please.

“This concert kicks off our 105th concert series as a band,” he said. “Not many band programs can say they’ve been around as long as the Joliet bands, and that is a testament to the students, faculty and administration involved with the support of these great kids.”

Stinson is in the middle of his first year as director of bands at Joliet Township High School District 204. He previously taught at Naperville North High School.

Stinson said the event strives to be in tune with the spirit of the season.

The concert band performed selections from “The Nutcracker” ballet, “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”, “The Polar Express” and a holiday arrangement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”.

The symphonic band showcased a number of pieces they’d been studying in class this year, including John Philip Sousa’s “Manhattan Beach March”, Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Jesters”, Steven Bryant’s tonal piece “Dusk” and Alfred Reed’s “The Hounds of Spring”.

“Picking the correct literature for a group is the most important and most difficult job of a music director,” Stinson said. “This is music education, so we want the students to learn and discover how to succeed on the technical demands of a piece, achieving good balance and intonation, and understanding the cultural significance of composers and works. A director should select pieces that are challenging yet attainable for every member in the ensemble, from beginners to those that hope to major in music.”

Stinson added that it’s important to organize a program that is balanced.

“Too many slower pieces and the student and audiences can easily lose interest, while a large amount of big and bombastic pieces can overwhelm them,” he said.

LaTonya Young, of Joliet, said she enjoyed this year’s show.

“The last (song) they did, I really liked it,” she said. “It was kind of like a complicated piece. It wasn’t just one tempo.”

Young’s son is a junior in one of Joliet Central High School’s bands. She said he’d been talking about the concert practically every day.

Young said it was amazing to see her son performing with his classmates.

“I’m still not used to it,” she said. “This is his third year.”

Vicki Middleton, of Joliet, said she’s glad she came out to see the concert.

“Mr. Stinson actually picks a nice variety of music and different difficulties also within each of the bands, and I find that to be very refreshing,” she said. “So, it’s not all easy songs for the concert band and all hard songs for the symphonic band. The concert band gets some hard songs, too. I find that very nice.”

Middleton’s son Skyler is a sophomore in the concert band at Joliet Central High School. She said he’d been practicing at home quite a bit in the time leading up to the event.

She said of all the songs performed by the group, one piece stood out to her.

“Actually, the ‘Polar Express’ was (my favorite) because my son warned me about it coming and he made me watch the movie,” she said. “He dug it up out of the archives and made me watch it.”

Stinson said the band concert serves as a nice culmination of the students’ hard work this year.

“I hope that they are proud, and that they feel like they created a significant moment for themselves or an audience member,” he said. “I hope that they are satisfied with their results, but that they are also inspired to continue working hard to achieve even more.”

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