Elk River band program finds success in 2012

by Jim Boyle

The Elk River High School band program had a tremendously busy and successful year, members of the Elk River Area School Board were told at a recent business meeting.

“We had some amazing accomplishments,” said Jill Griffiths, the incoming president of the Elk River High School band boosters.

Members of the high school’s band program seemed to fare well, no matter which direction they went during the 2011–12 school year.

The band program put on two more wildly popular and successful swing dances that bring together several bands including the middle school bands.

Members of the high school band also had the best participation ever at solo ensemble contests, and they placed well at them. That includes the entire wind symphony that achieved a rare feat of having all students score an excellent rating or higher.

“More than half of them scored a superior,” Griffiths said. “That is an amazing statistic.”

Elk River High School’s top musicians also qualified to be part of honor bands at St. Olaf University, the University of Minnesota, Duluth and the University of St. Thomas, where they received instruction from the top conductors and composers from around the country and performed with top musicians from around the state.

If it’s awards you’re looking for, they got those, too.

District 728 Cadets, comprised of primarily Elk River High School students, placed first at state in 2011 and second place at state in 2012. The Cadets also received the People’s Choice  Award out of 19 competing bands.

River Valley Percussion Theater and Winter Guard, another competition group Elk River students take part in, took first place at state.

Twelve Elk River High School musicians were named all conference.

And members of the Red White and Blue Alumni Jazz Band performed at the Elk River Independence Day celebration July 4 at Lions Park.

“Can  you imagine a Fourth of July without patriotic songs and Christmas without carols?” Griffiths asked in closing. “Or how about our very own Elk River High School graduation without the band playing the processional music?

“The Elk River High School band program is more than a fine art elective. These young musicians proudly dedicate themselves to what goes on outside the classroom. Hours of practice, study, weekend honor bands, clinics, school events and most importantly, performing for our community.”