West bands performing this holiday season


Edna Shelby-Lewis

Normal West flute choir playing at Bromenn Hospital.

Normal West’s band programs does a multitude of concerts, fundraisers, and performances, but what most don’t know is there are band groups that also play to the elderly and ill people.

Right after Halloween, Normal West band skips Thanksgiving and goes straight to Christmas. This is because there’s only around a month to prepare for their Christmas concert filled with all the holiday classics.

There are four main bands at Normal West, the more well known being Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band, and Concert Winds. Then the band program branches off into things such as marching band.

The band program also branches off into flute, clarinet, saxophone, and brass choirs and a percussion ensemble.

In early November in the band hallway, there are signup sheets on the wall for these various choirs and ensembles. Soon after signing up, the after school practices begin, preparing the book of holiday music.

These choirs and ensembles also put on performances, from November to December at the Community Cancer Center, Sugar Creek Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, Children’s Discovery Museum, Heritage Manor, Bromenn Medical Center, and Barnes & Noble. At all the performance locations the audience ranges from young to old.

All of the audience seems to appreciate the gesture of playing music for them. Senior Chase Kurkowski recalled his best memory of brass choir, “Playing at the nursing homes last year is one of my best memories, it was just really nice to play for the people there and they really seemed to enjoy it.”

Senior Jacob Labertew also recalled his best memory of saxophone choir, “My best memory is definitely carpooling to the Alzheimer’s Center, having the time of fellowship with the saxophone players, and bonding over McDonald’s.”

Both Kurkowski and Labertew had the same general description for being in one of these choirs they stated, “It is a good opportunity to play with others from your section you usually wouldn’t play within a fun environment.”

Not only did the seasoned players in these choirs have great reviews so do newcomers. Junior newcomer Abby Berry stated why she wanted to join in too, “I wanted to do it because we perform at nursing and retirement homes. And I know it makes all of the people there happy when students perform for them.”

Berry also commented, “It’s so nice to play with players at various skill levels coming together to play some Christmas music. It’s really fun and puts everyone in a good mood.”

There are not many performances in general but there is one the Normal West Wildcats can attend. Friday evening on December 11th Wildcats are invited to come to Barnes & Noble to hear and support the brass, saxophones, clarinets, and flute choirs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.