This has been a very different year for the Natchitoches Central High School Band. They had to cancel band camp ;ast summer due to the second spike of COVID-19 cases in the state, play outdoors, utilize bell covers and social distancing, abstain from travel and mostly participate in virtual events rather than the in-person ones. However, through all of the challenges they have persevered and achieved success in several areas.
Throughout the year, the band utilized social media to keep performing when it was unsafe to host live events. The band presented what they typically perform for the Natchitoches Christmas Parade, they honored Black History Month with a performance of “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, a tribute to the NCHS boys basketball team, a performance featuring the NCHS Percussion Ensemble performing on nontraditional instruments and featured the Tribal Fire Colorguard.
While the NCHS Band performed in the stands at football games, they were unable to perform a halftime show due to COVID regulations. These virtual performances were instrumental in ensuring their talents reached a wider audience and they could share the joy of music with others.
Students participated in fundraisers, including a donation drive and a jambalaya plate lunch fundraiser. These funds will help with instrument repair, new instrument purchases, future travel and classroom materials.
Eight students were selected to the District II Honor Band. They are Alexx Gibson, flute; Adriana Hernandez, flute; Mariana Martinez, flute; Jeron Larry, alto saxophone; Tyson Roberson, trombone; Wesley Clark, tuba; Colton Conley, percussion; and Caldwell DeFord, percussion.
These students were selected via virtual audition amongst other high school musicians from surrounding parishes.
In addition to being selected to the District Honor Band, Clark was selected to the LMEA All-State Band.
All-state is a two-round process, and selected students move on to the second round. These include Larry, Conley and DeFord.
This is an even more selective process as it includes students from all over the state.
Clark is the first NCHS band student selected for this honor since 2004. He has been invited to the Northwestern State University Honor Wind Ensemble program this summer as a result.
Several band students participated in the LMEA District II Solo and Ensemble Assessment. This assessment involves small ensembles and solos who perform for adjudication and receive a rating that indicates their level of achievement. One ensemble and two soloists participated in this event and they all received a rating of superior, the highest achievable rating. The ensemble includes Adriana Hernandez, flute; Larry, alto saxophone; and Aidan St. Peter, bass clarinet.
The soloists are Clark, tuba, and Mariana Martinez, flute.
The band also participated as a full ensemble in the virtual LMEA Large Ensemble Assessment. This assessment was a combination of parishes from north and central Louisiana and involved three adjudicators listening to recorded submissions. The band received a superior rating from all three adjudicators. This was especially exciting since schools shut down the week before the NCHS band was set to perform for 2020’s Large Ensemble Assessment.
Finally, the band had a live concert May 13 for the first time since December 2019. The concert featured a performance by the NCHS Percussion Ensemble, the previously mentioned Superior-rated woodwind ensemble, and the entire ensemble. Awards were also distributed, and seniors were recognized for the participation and contributions throughout their high school careers.