While many students were relaxing and vacationing on spring break, teenagers in the Southwood Symphonic Winds were hard at work perfecting their performance for a national music competition.
Band director Lennard Holden conducted the 70 students in the Southern Star Music Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, last weekend.
“It’s a great experience for the kids. The competition usually falls during spring break so our kids usually give up their spring break to focus for the three to four days,” said Holden. “They readily give their time up, they don’t complain about it.”
The students returned home to Shreveport with superior ratings from each of the judges and received the title of overall sweepstakes winner.
“They really have the joy knowing someone appreciated their hard work,” said Holden. “We played grade five music and that’s the highest level music you can play for high school. For them to take that challenge on, they felt good. The judges came to the stage and congratulated them and showed real appreciation for the package we presented.”
The Southwood Symphonic Winds performed three pieces: “El Camino Real” by Alfred Reed; “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Ennio Morricone; and “Danzas Cubanas” by Robert Sheldon.
It was the band’s second time attending the competition. Last year, the group was named grand champions.
Select school bands from across the country competed in various categories, Holden said. They were judged based on their skill and showmanship, including the quality of the literature performed, stage presence and overall performance.
Performing and receiving high scores in Atlanta has boosted the young musicians’ confidence and helped to prepare them for their next performances.
“On April 15, it’s our big annual concert in the courtyard at Southwood,” said Holden. “It’s an outside dinner and it features the entire music department of Southwood. We’re excited about it this year because every facet of the music department at Southwood has received sweepstakes and all qualified for state — the orchestra, choir and the band department.”
On April 19, the Southwood Symphonic Winds will compete in the Louisiana Music Educators Association Instrumental State Competition in West Monroe.
If you go
What: Concert in the Courtyard
Where: Southwood High School, 9000 Walker Road, Shreveport
When: 6 p.m. April 15
Cost: $25; $100 for four-seat table; $200 for eight seat table
Info: Tickets available at Southwood High School’s front office.
(318) 686-9512 or southwoodcowboys.org
What: Louisiana Music Educators Association Instrumental State Competition
Where: West Ouachita High School, 4061 Caples Rd., West Monroe, Louisiana
When: April 19