Honor ensemble goes virtual, gives students unique opportunity

New Mexico News

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Five high school bands are chosen each year to showcase their talents at an all-state event. This year, not even a global pandemic could get in the way of their performances.

It’s a show that high school musicians from across New Mexico hope to perform in. Every year, five high school bands play on the stage at Popejoy Hall for the All-State Event. “Each year, programs from throughout the state submit recordings, those recordings are sent out of state and adjudicated by three people. The ones deemed strongest are selected to perform that following conference in January,” said Neil Swapp, the Executive Director of the New Mexico Music Educators Association.

This year, Las Cruces High, Centennial, School of Dreams Academy, Bosque School, and Los Alamos High School were the five programs chosen. But when the five schools learned they were being featured, they also found out they would not be performing on stage. “We made the decision quite early that we would have the event virtual,” said Swapp.

Starting in July, students began practicing, over Zoom. “When we rehearse, we can rehaerse online, but we can only hear one individual at a time,” said Ty Fredricks, the Las Cruces High School Band Director.

Each group then recorded their pieces, but they couldn’t do that together either. “They were alone in a room listening to a click track, which is just the metronome click around the music. They played their part and left,” said Assistant Band Director Tai Mikulecky.

Centennial choir teacher Christa Fredrickson says it’s easy to focus on all of the things students have missed out on this year, but in this case, she says they got a unique opportunity. “They learned technological skills they never would have learned in our programs before,” said Fredrickson.

Las Cruces High School and Centennial High School collaborated on one of their videos. They say this is the first time rivals in Las Cruces have worked together on an ensemble.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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