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Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Joseph Igot, ’22, plays the piano for the jazz band. Igot received the night’s only standing ovation for a piano solo he performed.

To cap off the 2016-2017 school year, the music department held their annual spring concert. The event featured a variety of bands that included elementary, junior high and high school students.

The band members are instructed by Lesley Bannister and Dakota Simpson. Both Bannister and Simpson were proud of the progress their students have made throughout the year. Bannister was unable to attend the event due to a minor car accident, however, her band members performed with confidence throughout the night.

The concert featured the jazz band, percussion ensemble, third-grade recorders, fourth-grade beginning band and fifth-sixth grade band. The jazz band opened the event with a song called ‘Killer on the Keys’ that featured solo’s from Janae Shew, ’20, and Austin Petersen, ’22. Daniel Williams, ’20, also performed a solo piece in the following song, ‘Walk Talk.’

Bannister enjoys shaping students into musicians throughout the school year and helping them develop their skills.

“Watching them grow and develop their skills makes my heart so happy,” Bannister said. “We have been working on our set all semester. I chose challenging music for the students, and they had to work very hard to be able to play the music well. I like to set the bar high and see them rise to meet it.”

The third graders followed the jazz band on their recorders, performing ‘Soul Song’ and ‘Country Cooking.’ Percussion ensemble performed two songs afterward, and while the group was small (the band only had two members), they received a large applause from the crowd.

The fifth, sixth and fourth-grade bands also drew a positive reaction from the crowd after their performances. Emma Calderon, ’23, performed a solo in the fourth-grade band that also received a round of applause from the audience.

One performance that stood out was seventh grader Joseph Igot’s piano solo. Igot received the night’s only standing ovation and also played the piano for the jazz band.

The jazz band took the stage one last time to finish off the night’s performance. Senior Trevor Trevino, ’17, stood out with his performance on the bass

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Percussion ensemble performs two songs after the third-grade recorder performance. The ensemble, though small, received a thundering applause after their peformance.

Simpson, the percussion ensemble instructor, enjoyed his first year teaching on campus.

“A couple of years ago, Fresno Christian’s drama department performed Music Man, and I was called in to play percussion, and a year later I was offered the position here,” Simpson said. “I teach the percussion ensemble as well as playing the piano for the elementary school groups and just about whatever else needs help. One of my favorite parts about teaching here is those lightbulb moments that some of the students get when they have never heard something before and it finally just decides to click.”

For the music department, this year was eventful and full of new activities and events. Bannister is excited to see what the future holds for the music department.

“This was a year of firsts for the band,” Bannister said. “This was the first time marching in parades and our first time at City Jazz Fest. We did well considering it was our first experience at those events, and I am excited to see what they will be able to accomplish next year.”

For those interested in joining one of the bands, contact Bannister or Simpson about joining the music department.

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