Band shapes memories for 2 Middle Park students
May 11, 2017
After the pomp and circumstance of graduation fades, the students of Middle Park High School will look back and reflect upon their years walking the institutional halls of East Grand. For seniors Alyssa Fawkes and Jene Hansen, their time in high school band will be a big part of the memories they carry forward.
The two young ladies are just two weeks away from their final day as high school students and took some time to look back on what their musical careers have meant to them.
Playing their distinct instruments
"I have always loved music," said Fawkes. "My family is very musical and it is something I have always been around. It has always been something I am really good at."
Fawkes, who plays tuba in the school band, is a musical virtuoso proficient on multiple instruments including guitar, piano and saxophone, along with her big brass.
Her kindred spirit is fellow senior Jene Hansen who plays the baritone horn, a low brass instrument very similar but distinctly different than the tuba. The two ladies are among the leading musicians for the Middle Park band.
Fawkes's decision to play the tuba was derived from the unique sound the instrument makes.
"It just sounded so good to me when I was little," she explained. "It sounded pretty."
She began by playing the baritone horn then switched to tuba.
Hansen's choice of baritone horn was partially derived from her sense that the uniqueness of the horn personifies her.
"It just stood out to me," she raved, noting that she is the only baritone horn player in the entire band. She described the baritone horn as big, loud and powerful, mirroring her personality.
In addition to the distinction of being a leading student athlete at East Grand, band offers Hansen the opportunity to let the rest of the world fade while she focuses on her music.
"Music speaks to me," Hansen said. "It clears my mind. I can walk into class and play and not think about anything else."
The two girls have both been band members their entire junior high and high school careers. Both have accumulated significant honors over that time. Fawkes has been an Honor Band member all four years of high school, traveling to participate in the annual Honor Band concert in Aspen from freshman to senior year. Fawkes has also participated in Solo Ensemble two different years where she received the highest possible score for her performances.
Hansen lettered in band all four years of high school but attended the Honor Band Concert in Aspen only as a freshman. Throughout her last three years of school, her sports commitments meant she was unable to travel for the event.
According to Fawkes, the best part of high school band is, by far, her fellow musicians.
"The people you get to meet along the way are amazing," she said. "You meet so many different people and can connect with them just because of the instrument they play, or how long they have been playing."
In Hansen's case, her decision to play in band boils down to the thrill of playing. "I really like the concerts," Hansen said. "It brings all the music together and we sound like band. In class we spend more time working on measures, its not all together."
But the concert brings it all together and makes it so much better, she explained.
Like so many of the musicians at Middle Park, both Fawkes and Hansen highlighted their attendance at the annual Honor Band Concert as the highlight of their time in band. Freshman year's Honor Band was the best, according to Hansen, since she was able to meet people and have fun.
Fawkes singled out her sophomore year in Honor Band as most memorable.
WORDS OF WISDOM
The two soon-to-be graduates offered words of wisdom to next year's class of incoming freshman band students: "Stick with it," Hansen said. "In the end it is worth the reward. Practice in and out of class."
Fawkes echoed her sentiments. "Definitely practice," she said. "And know your notes."