CARSON CITY — When members of the Carson City-Crystal High School Band take the stage, each musician approaches their performance with a mentality composed of complete dedication to their craft with an eye focused on perfection.
When the band competed at the Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) District 5 Festival in Perry on March 15, that mentality paid its dividends.
Band members were able to celebrate in excitement together as they walked away with a Division I rating. They will now take their performance to the State MSBOA Festival on May 1 in Port Huron.
Band Director Chad Parmenter said he was especially proud of his students’ efforts as they dealt with 15 total days of rehearsal time that were removed from their schedule due to snow days during an especially harsh winter.
“The high school band just played amazing, it was one of those situations where it was really easy directing them,” he said. “You didn’t feel like you had to hold them together, we were just making music together.”
Parmenter said the lack of consistent practice time as an ensemble together with all 42 students created a stressful situation for both his students and himself.
But his students arose to the challenge, putting in more focused rehearsals and spending time outside of the classroom at home practicing their music.
“I really think my students feel prouder about this one, due to the fact that they know that we were down 15 days,” he said. “I told them that this would be a good challenge of their work ethic and my teaching, to be able to put it all together and do it.”
The band played three pieces of music, one required by the association, a required march and a piece selected by Parmenter.
Three judges rated their performance, each giving the band a Division I rating.
The band then performed in front of a sight-reading judge, in which the band played a piece of music for the very first time, earning a Division II rating.
Altogether with the overall Division I rating, the band qualified to compete at the state level, and will do so hoping to again earn another Division I rating.
If you ask the students within the band, they are setting the bar even higher for their next performance.
“It just shows that we are a good band,” said senior and French horn player Adeline Hummel, 17. “We have the potential to get better, even with more work in the next few weeks. We are on our way. We are not an average band, we are a great band.”
Hummel said she and her fellow students approached this year more seriously than in past years.
“Every day counts in band,” she said. “We had a few struggles, people trying to get the rhythms down, but what really helped was the whole dedication of all of the kids. Without them coming in and taking their instruments home, taking their time to work on them during the free time that they had, we wouldn’t have been able to get to where we were with so many snow days off.”
Fellow senior and flute player Lindsay McClintic, 18, said it took a group effort with every student on board.
“You need everybody to practice and put the time in so that you don’t let down your other band members,” she said. “You have 40 other kids counting on you.”
The final goal, both students agreed, is to show that the music program at Carson City-Crystal can compete at an elite level.
“We want to prove that we can compete at that higher level and we can be as good as the bigger schools,” McClintic said.
Parmenter added that he was equally proud of the Middle School Band, which earned a Division II rating at the district festival.
Though the band won’t be traveling to the State Festival competition, Parmenter said his students should be proud of the efforts put forth in a difficult year.
“I have a very competitive middle school band, it bugs them that they didn’t get that first Division I rating,” he said. “They just missed it.”
Parmenter said the extra amount of snow days weighed heavier on his seventh and eight grade students, who are still very much learning to play their instruments.
“My whole thing is, with the extra snow days, having my middle schoolers work the way they did with those days off, was very impressive,” he said. “I think they should be proud of the work they did. The middle school nerves are little more uncontrolled. They went to state last year, so they have a lot to be proud of.”
The public can listen and watch the bands perform live at the east gym at Carson City-Crystal High School during the school’s Spring Collage Concert at 7 p.m. May 8. Admission to the concert is $5.