Band Jamboree: A Concert On The Green

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When fifth grade students start to play in an elementary school band, some of them get hooked on the beautiful noise.

Laughlin Potvin picked up the flute in fifth grade, not because of her musical parents but just because she "liked it."

She found the flute's lilting sounds "too quiet" so in sixth grade she switched to the trumpet.

As a sophomore, Laughlin opted for the "smooth, pretty" sound of the French Horn.

A large bore trombone is Aaron Meidinger's brass of choice.

"Trombone is the coolest. When I heard classical music I could hear the moving slide and that's cooler than pushing keys," he said.

At six-foot-two, he has long enough arms an enough air in his lungs to master the instrument.

Rachel Weatherly gave up her clarinet two years for an alto saxophone so she could play in the jazz band.

"It's more fun to play and sometimes the parts are better in the music," she said.

Clarinet player Kim Donaldson might disagree. Donaldson started playing clarinet with a friend five years ago and has "loved it ever since."

Phantom of the Opera is Donaldson's current favorite song.

Some of the music is hard but she feels up the challenge.

Route 66 and Satin Doll are two of Weatherly's favorite jazz numbers.

"It's fun to show off what we've practiced. The audience gives a lot back," she said.

"Yeah, we joke in the jazz band that we play for food or money, but mostly for food," Meidinger said.

In combination, about 100 students fill Payson High School teacher Larry Potvin's and Rim Country Middle School teacher Mike Buskirk's music classrooms. The students bond in that unique camaraderie that comes from playing in a band.

"Some people say that when you play a piece of music, you are recreating the notes. You're not. The music is a guideline. The students create the music," Buskirk said.

Like a coach on the field giving plays, Potvin and Buskirk wave their batons. Ultimately, it is the students who have control because, "whatever students are feeling, that is what is coming out of their instruments," Buskirk added.

At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, the community is invited to the annual Band Jamboree.

The free event takes place on the RCMS football field. Parking is at both high school parking lots on Longhorn. There is a gate onto the football field at the east-most lot.

In the past, parents and relatives of students have been the bulk of the attendees.

"I want everybody to come out and hear us," Weatherly said.

Weatherly's fellow band mates sonorously echoed the invitation.

The music will include: Canto, Phantom of the Opera, Thunder and Blazes, The Girl from Impanima, How High the Moon, a medley of nursery rhymes, a couple of marches and selections from The Little Mermaid.

"There is some combining of groups, but it is all done on the spot- no dress rehearsals," Buskirk said.

Attendees are welcome to bring a blanket and a picnic basket and enjoy music on the green.

The concert is expected to last about 90 minutes.

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