2019 Elkhorn Band Olympics

Ian M

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The low hum of voices slowly subsides as people begin to notice the young musician standing near the front of the room. He looks at the judge, waiting for the signal to start. He sees his cue and proclaims the introduction he’s rehearsed a thousand times in his head. The room is silent now as he raises the mouth piece to his lips. Silent, except for a shaky breath. Then the music is pouring from the instrument with precision and soul. The performer knows it well and quickly he begins to open up, approaching a crescendo, he plays with more volume, more intensity. The crowd is drawn in, listening from the edges of their seats. He reaches the end and silence falls again, this time only for a second before the applause. All the hours of practice, every corrected mistake has led to this moment, this one satisfying moment, and it was worth every bit of it. This is how it feels to participate in the Elkhorn Band Olympics, and it’s one of the most rewarding experiences a musician can have. 

This past month many 9th and 10th grade band members had the opportunity to perform at the Elkhorn Band Olympics, a chance to compete against soloists and ensemble groups for a superior rating among other rewards. 

Preparing for a contest like this can be a lot of work, it requires lots of practice and work put in outside of school.  

“I did a lot of practicing, a lot of times in band I would spend the whole period in one of the practice rooms working on my solo,” said freshman Riley Martin. 

All of that hard work pays off though, many of the students who participated in the contest this year received high ranks and some even earned superior ratings or the ‘best in site’ ranking. 

“I think the performance went really well. The overall sound was probably one of our best runs,” freshman Audrey Raffensberger said. 

The Band Olympics also prepare students for many real-world experiences, bettering their ability to get up in front of people and preform. 

“Usually if I get a chance to play a challenging piece of music like a solo or duet piece, I take it, because I’m trying to improve my ability to perform in front of an audience, and soloing is a really good way for me to practice that,” Martin said. 

Students are also able to learn important ‘life lessons’ from the Band Olympics. 

“I think one big take-away is that I should be prepared for anything, I think if I had been more prepared, I could have played a lot better,” Martin said. 

Overall, the Elkhorn Band Olympics are a great experience for students to improve upon their musicianship, and to grain knowledge and useful skills which they can use all throughout their lives. 

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