Bands from the three Catholic high schools in the New Ulm Diocese gathered for a workshop and massed band performance on Oct. 4.

Student musicians from the Diocese of New Ulm’s three high schools gathered at St. Mary’s School on Oct. 4 for their second annual band festival—last year’s was held at New Ulm Cathedral High School. The third high school is Winsted Holy Trinity.

The band students worked all day with Dr. James Miller, professor of the Wind Orchestra at Gustavus Adolphus College, to prepare three selections which were presented at a concert at the end of the school day.

Dr. Miller told the concert audience he was impressed with the hard work the students put in to learn the difficult pieces in five hours. The band performed “Indian Story Time” by Brent Michael Davids, “An American Elegy” by Frank Ticheli (which Dr. Miller explained was quite timely for the students, as it had been written for Columbine High School following the shooting there) and a medley from the musical “Wicked.”

Rachel Moldan, St. Mary’s band instructor, said she enjoys the band festival because it gives the students a different view on band. “We are comfortable playing in our little groups, but combining with others gives the students more to listen to, and for, while playing,” Moldan said. “They are tentative going into the day and come out excited to be a part of it.”

The students agreed that the band festival was a fun and interesting experience. “I loved it,” said Leah Schnobrich. “The different instruments and bigger sections were amazing. I play bass line and it was nice to have someone to back me up.”

Cassie Heinrichs said the day was a great experience and she enjoyed meeting new people and working as a team. She said, “It was crazy to see that in a matter of five hours, a combination of people who had never played together, performed pieces they had never seen and put on a concert for the school.”

“It was an overall awesome experience,” said Hali Soukup. “I liked the director and the other schools. I also learned about the future opportunities you can gain through band.”

Taylor Reinarts also thought the day was a lot of fun. “It was such an awesome experience,” she said. “Starting out bad with each song, and coming together as a group of 63 people listening and working with one another, we were able to perform three difficult pieces at a level that would normally take several months to learn.”