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The Student News Site of West Delaware High School

Inklings

The Student News Site of West Delaware High School

Inklings

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Making Big Music

The West Delaware Concert Band and BYO Brass make an impressive duo.
BYO+Brass+plays+during+the+annual+winter+band+and+choir+concert.
Liz Sleper
BYO Brass plays during the annual winter band and choir concert.

BYO Brass brought the city to Manchester with their showcase at the annual winter band and choir concert this year.

The West Delaware High School Band performed four pieces at their annual winter concert on Dec. 21. Two of the songs, however, had an accompaniment from a Cedar Falls based brass band called BYO Brass. 

Band director Jonathan Green reached out to them at the beginning of the winter concert cycle. “I went to college with a lot of the guys in the band, and they’re good friends of mine,” Green said. “There’s a lot of music education baked into the UNI music program, so not only did those guys have strong music skills, they had strong education skills as well. The goal was to show the students that there is music beyond high school, besides marching band or concert band. There are so many opportunities available out there.”

Maya Pennington, who plays the flute, agreed with Green. “It was really cool to try playing with a new band. It was loud, and it was fun to create so much sound,” Pennington said. “Mr. Green likes to surprise us with stuff all the time; last year for one of our concerts, we played while someone sang with us. I think we’ll probably do a lot more unexpected things like that in the future.”

The West Delaware band and BYO Brass play together on stage during the concert. (Liz Sleper)

BYO Brass rocked the stage before each of the band and choir portions of the concert, serving as filler entertainment while the stage was being set up behind the scenes. They played around 10 songs, many of them original pieces.

BYO Brass is made up of 10 former college buddies who enjoy making music. They play together whenever they can, and the Hanson Auditorium stage was one of their most recent endeavors.

“We had such a great time sharing the stage with the WDHS Band,” said a spokesperson for BYO Brass. “We’re so glad the community reacted so positively to what we were able to do with Mr. Green and the band in such a short time together!”

Band teacher Jonathan Green plays alongside BYO Brass in between the band and choir portions of the concert. (Liz Sleper)

The band students learned a lot from the brass band during their rehearsal time together on the day of the concert. 

“They gave us lots of tips and tricks on how to play their style of music,” Green said. “A lot of different students went up and talked to them afterward to ask questions. I know there were a couple of my percussionists who talked to the drumset player, specifically him just to get his opinion on things.”

Audience member Stuart Sleper was thoroughly impressed with the combined performance. “That was awesome!” Sleper said. “It made it seem like I was at a big city venue, instead of a high school concert in small town Iowa. Mr. Green did a great job of bringing the two groups together. They complimented each other so well!” 

Choir student Noelle Bardgett, who was at the concert watching the band before the choir performance, was also quite impressed by the combined band performance. 

“We had never seen something like that before!” Bardgett exclaimed. “I thought it was super fun, and I can’t wait to see what the band does next. Mr. Green always seems to have something up his sleeve!”

BYO Brass was certainly a welcome shake-up to the annual winter concert. 

“A huge kudos goes to the students’ hard work in preparing the music,” said BYO’s spokesperson. “The band sounded awesome!”

There is music beyond high school, besides marching band or concert band. There are so many opportunities available out there.

— Jonathan Green

Green is in pursuit of new opportunities to show West Delaware music students just how much they can incorporate music into their lives.

“We are constantly finding new ways to bring extra educational opportunities to the students,” Green said. “The purpose for having the musicians come in to work with the band was to give them different perspectives on how music can be a part of their lives beyond high school. I am constantly looking for ways to show these experiences to students. I want them to know that music isn’t something you just do in high school; it’s something you can do for life.”

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About the Contributor
Liz Sleper, Staff
Hey! I’m Liz Sleper, a senior here at West Delaware. I’m super involved in extracurriculars; I participate in musical, all-state choir, all-state speech, student council, NHS, play, and journalism, and I run the spirit squad Twitter page. In my spare time (I don’t have much), you can find me lifting, skiing in the winter, watching my siblings’ sports games, watching scary movies, or playing guitar (badly). In the summer, I lifeguard and teach swim lessons at the Kramer Aquatic Center! I plan on attending the University of Iowa to major in Journalism and Mass Communications, hopefully also on a pre-law track. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of the yearbook team this year, and I’m looking forward to new experiences and opportunities!

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