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Area students converge for band concert

Apr. 20, 2013 @ 12:23 AM

HUNTINGTON -- With little more than four hours of rehearsal time together, about 195 high school students came together to perform a concert Friday night at Huntington High School during the 78th annual West Virginia All Area Bands Concert.

The event was the culmination of weeks of nominations and auditions for the students, who were sorted into two bands: All Area Concert Band and All Area Symphonic Band, said Melissa Ash, director of the Region III festival.

Huntington High School was one of multiple locations throughout the state where students from multiple schools converged for concerts in their respective regions, said Ash.

"It's about promoting a musical experience," said Ash. "They come together from all over, and, while they are playing together, they also are getting to play under the direction of a guest conductor, who they may not have had the opportunity to meet or work with otherwise."

The two guest conductors for Friday's event were Sue Creasap, from Morehead State University, and Rhonda Smalley, former music department chair and band director at Cabell Midland High School.

The students came from eleven schools throughout southwestern West Virginia. Students representing the bands of Buffalo, Cabell Midland, Huntington, Hurricane, Lincoln County, Poca, Ripley, Spring Valley, Tolsia, Wayne and Winfield High Schools took to the stage in Huntington High's auditorium to perform music, including selections from "Star Wars" and "Les Miserables."

Joe Hardin, band director at Spring Valley High School, also serves as the Region III WVSSAC representative. He said he participated in the concert when he was a high school student, and he was excited for his students to have the same opportunity.

"It's an opportunity to help refine their own skills with their instruments," said Hardin. "These kids come from a diverse range of programs, and being with other kids from other programs really gives you a chance to improve how you play and learn from your peers.

"Hopefully, they can take what they learn back to their own schools and share it with their own band members to make better music overall."

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