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RMC Honors Concert gets rave reviews from all involved

Rocky Mountain College hosted their Second Annual Invitational Honors Concert at Faith Chapel in Billings on January 29, 2010. Organizers and participants alike gave rave reviews of the experience, participants and the audience and their overall enjoyment of the event.

Megan Heinemann, a Music Education major and 2009 RMC December graduate, said, “I had participated in the event last year and was kind of disappointed that I wasn't part of the band this year. When I told Tony Hammond this, he asked me if I wanted to join in as a trombone player. I had such a great time last year that I told him I would do it.”

Emily Lambert, a 23 year-old Rocky Mountain College senior, said, “I wanted to go because I like music and I wanted to support my fellow classmates. The music was wonderful and the college kids and high school kids seemed to really work well together. Also, the conductors showed such great enthusiasm and excitement for creating the music.”

Anthony Hammond, RMC Director of Bands, added, “In my opinion the concert went extremely well. I was quite pleased with the way the high school [students] played the music overall, and proud of the RMC students for doing such great work in such a small number of rehearsals.”

Junior Communications Studies major at RMC, Natalie Nason, contributed, “Overall, it was fine! Not as good as the concerts at the end of the year, but considering that it was their first [of the semester] it was very good.” She added, “Performers can always perform better, but it was very well done, there was quite a variety of songs chosen.”

Bryon Baumstarck, a senior in Computer Science and Mathematics at RMC said, “The high school invitees were every bit as melodic as the Rocky students, and this reflected very well on their music instructors.” Jesse Murphy, Community Outreach and Development Coordinator for RMC, also described the high school invitees performance and attitudes as “great to work with; so respectful and appreciative.”

Krystal VanDyke, a fifth year senior in Music Education at RMC, commented on the high school students themselves saying, “The high school students were essentially the best of the best from around the state; these are the kids that will go on to college in a year or two and perform in college ensembles. These students are ready to perform at that level; they know how to work and practice and make their ensembles great. They brought our ensembles above and beyond levels we have ever achieved.”

Steven Hart, RMC Associate Professor, Music, said, “I was really happy with the performance. It turned out great! One of the amazing feats is to gather all of those performers from all those cities and make them sound like on group in two days. I was very pleased about that. It attested to their focus at rehearsal.”

Heinemann added, “I was really impressed with the ability level of the high school students and their willingness to be open-minded about new rehearsal techniques, as well as relax and become part of the whole group. That's partially what this event is about, being able to play or sing with a bunch of people that you barely know, and do it well.”

Hammond commented further on the invitees preparedness, “The high school students really impressed me in their approach to the event. They came reasonably prepared musically. To that end I owe a huge debt of gratitude to their individual teachers who worked with them… The kids’ attitudes, even during ‘knock-down, drag-out’ rehearsals was really commendable.” In response to adding the invitees to the regular college band, he added, “It was called an Honor Band, so I approached it the same way I would my college group. I gave them the respect and trust I give my college band, and I was rewarded by their trust in me as a conductor. The only difference is their performance experience and their concept of what is ‘good enough’ for performance.”

Nason encourages more students to participate. “I heard from some of the performers that the high school students needed the training in professionalism, so I would encourage any high school student who was thinking of coming to Rocky to attend.”

VanDyke also exclaimed, “I would absolutely recommend [this event to] anyone who can participate! To sit in a large band or choir and make wonderful music is something every person needs to experience at least once in their lives. A lot of students (like myself) come from small schools around the state and have maybe twenty people in their ensembles. To perform in an ensemble of 80 or more is such a great experience.”

Hart added, “It’s important t to be able to create some “buzz” when the students go back to their own school. The ultimate goal is get students to come here. One student had RMC 3rd on her list, and now it’s 1st. We’ll see her next year.” About the high school students attitudes, Hart described, “Some students appeared to have a ‘too cool for school’ attitude which quickly changed to ‘can’t wait for next year.'”


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