This month, 85 bandsman and 15 art students travelled to Chicago to experience “the windy city” at its best.
The musicians travelled to the University of Illinois for a masterclass with one of their music professors to get ready for the WorldStrides Music Competition on Saturday, April 13. SAC had three groups perform/compete.
Our Jazz Band, under the direction of Music Teacher, John Richardson, went first and wowed the judges with their rendition of Chuck Mangione's Children of Sanchez.
Our award-winning Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Sandi Chasson, Head of Music, performed three works: Into the Joy of Spring by James Swearingen, a European March called Arsenal, and Steven Reineke's Fate of the Gods.
They boys were on fire. They performed with technical accomplishment, spirit, and finesse. The judges were beyond impressed. Ms Chasson says this was their best performance of the year. She added that it is very for American adjudicators to see an all-male Canadian band conducted by a female conductor!
Dressed in their kilts the boys not only looked amazing, but their performance was remarkable!
The Wind Ensemble received an invitation to perform in Carnegie Hall at the Festival of Gold in New York next year. Bravo!
The Symphonic Band performed next with three contrasting pieces under the direction of Music Teacher, Eric McMillan. Joy by Frank Ticheli, Heaven's Light by Steven Reineke, and Olympus by Rob Romeyn. This is the first time they had competed in a world-class festival and their performance was both musical and exciting.
Meanwhile, the art students took a Frank Lloyd Wright tour and explored the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition, Stephen Kimmerer, Head of Art, took them on a walking tour of some of the best art and architecture Chicago has to offer.
The students saw the Broadway show Hamilton, ate Chicago deep dish pizza, and went to a Chicago jazz club.
The tour ended with a boat cruise with all of the contestants in the WorldStrides Festival. There were more than 1,600 students competing in choirs, bands, orchestras, and jazz from all over the United States and Ecuador.
We certainly did SAC and Canada proud. The Wind Ensemble was awarded Superior Gold (with a mark of 92) and placed first. the Jazz Band was awarded Superior Gold (with a mark of 91) and placed second. The Symphonic Band was awarded a Silver.
As well, the festival gave out two Maestro Awards for Excellence. They were awarded to Willem Grier ’19 for his solo in Children of Sanchez and Chris Liu ’19 for his solo in Fate of the Gods. These awards nominate them to participate in the All-American Band performance at Carnegie Hall next year.
This has been an amazing year for music students at St. Andrew’s this year. We won the "Overall Outstanding Performance" at MusicFest Regionals in February, the Breezin’ Thru Theory competition at the CIS Ontario Music Festival in early April, and now brought home three award-winning bands from WorldStrides.
“I could not be prouder of our boys,” says Ms Chasson.