‘Band Jam’ Caps Music Year At Payson Schools



Courtesy photo

The Payson High/Middle School Jazz Band performed at the Band Jam.

Band Jamboree XII, held the evening of May 13 on the activity field at Rim Country Middle School, gave music students a chance to shine before a large crowd of friends and family.

Eight bands from Payson schools came together for their annual extravaganza to perform marches, concert selections, and movie highlights.

A combined band of more than 50 students from three elementary schools opened the program with “Bugler’s Dream,” composed for the 1984 Olympics, under the baton of Daria Mason, FES music teacher.

Mason has 40 students in her in-school band and Mike Buskirk, RCMS music teacher, has 15 dedicated individuals at both PES and JRE who rehearse two days a week in after-school bands.

The elementary honor band of 20 top-notch, first-year players followed with three programmatic pieces, one depicting America’s westward expansion, complete with a cracking bullwhip.

The 24-member RCMS beginning band performed a piece entitled “Voo Doo,” which used multiple sound effects and non-traditional playing methods to guide listeners’ imagination into darkened jungles for a ritualistic ceremony and dance.

The 32 advanced band members performed five pieces including “La Cucaracha,” featuring six performers on three marimbas and “Rats, Bats and Spiders,” which used specialty percussion “toys” plus one blood-curdling scream.

The Payson High/Middle School Jazz Band added variety.

This exceptionally talented group of 16 musicians has performed professionally for the past 10 years at numerous community and state events in addition to their annual concerts, festival and elementary schools tour. Particularly notable was their rendition of Woody Herman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing,” which featured Swiss exchange student Phil Leibundgut on drum set.

Payson High School’s 38 band members performed the brassy “Olympic Fanfare” under the direction of Larry Potvin. For the final piece, they combined with RCMS members and closed the season with “Highlights from The Wizard of Oz.”

The evening was both enjoyable and educational. In 90 minutes, listeners could see and hear the progression musicians must follow.

They start in fourth- and fifth-grade learning to decipher the “black dot code”- music, and manipulate instruments in hopes of producing “Old MacDonald” and “Hot Crossed Buns.”

They progress through two distinct levels in middle school where they gain control of their instrument and then begin playing simultaneous independent multiple parts. Then, if they have been practicing regularly for four years, they will be ready for the polishing process and multiple performance opportunities available in high school — an eight-year process.

It is not only the musicians and their families that benefit from this musical opportunity, but also the community of Payson as well.

Anyone who experiences excitement, sadness or joy from the music these students are creating has their life enriched. The community is grateful to PUSD for investing in the future of music and our humanity.


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