For the love of music, Brad Pregeant directs local students
December 1, 2016
Music is powerful.
Its ability to evoke emotion is unparalleled and there are few mediums through which such complex ideas can be expressed as quickly or concisely. For most who would claim to "love" music it is more than a hobby or pastime, it is a passion that can and often does consume their lives.
It is that passion for music Middle Park High School (MPHS) Band Director Brad Pregeant and his wife Lynnea Godfraux, who assists Pregeant on a volunteer basis, hope to impart on the students of the East Grand School District. Pregeant serves as Music Director for both the East Grand Middle School and MPHS directing the band and choir at both schools.
So far 2016 has been a great year for the MPHS Band. Director Pregeant has 30 students this year, a significant jump in numbers from last year's high school band that had 18 members. This year's band is heavily loaded with younger students with most of the 30 members being either freshmen or sophomores. There are three seniors participating in band this year including one tuba player, one trombone player and one baritone horn player.
The outlook for the high school band next year is also looking good. The low number of seniors in this year's band means there will be low turnover next year. Additionally the current EGMS Seventh and Eighth-Grade Band has 65 members; the Sixth-Grade Beginner Band has 50 members alone. Pregeant hopes the high numbers of junior high participants will mean the upward trend in high school band participation continues.
"A big part of that is I have been at the Middle School for the past three years," Pregeant said. "We have a bunch of freshmen this year who have had Lynnea or me instructing them for several years. They know us, it is less of a question mark for them, so being our own feeder for high school band is pretty huge."
The MPHS music program has already performed once in Granby this year in the fall. They, along with the EGMS seventh and eighth-grade band and the sixth-grade beginner band, will perform their annual Holiday/Winter Concert this coming Wednesday Dec. 7 in the MPHS Auditorium.
The performances will begin at 6:30 p.m. The high schoolers will begin their performance with a medley of Christmas songs titled, "A visit from St. Nick" before moving on to the songs "Cumberland Crossing", the "Duncannon Overture", and finishing with a song titled "Pictures at an Exhibition".
The EGMS Band will play the Christmas season favorite "Winter Wonderland" before moving on to a rendition of Bill Withers famed classic, "Lean on Me" and finishing with a medley of holiday tunes.
Several students from Middle Park recently attended the Northwest Colorado Honor Band event that was held in Aspen in early Nov. including: Grace Johnson, Ana Makowski, Dawson Grabner, Megan Life, Alyssa Fawkes, Patton Oehler and Mark Knight. Additionally Ana Makowski, saxophone player, and Megan Life, trumpet player, tried out for the All State Honor Band on Tuesday Nov. 29. Students from the MPHS Band are preparing for a pair of honor concerts later this year. Some will travel to Grand Junction for a special concert called, "Best of the West". That will be followed by the Honor Jazz concert scheduled for Feb.
After the MPHS Band wraps up their Holiday Concert next week they will begin turning their attention to the spring high school concert festival schedule including the State Band and State Choir Music Festivals. Most of the CHSAA organized music festivals are scheduled for mid-April to mid-May and are hosted throughout the State at various schools.
At the end of the day though concerts and music festivals are merely mediums for presentation of the lessons Pregeant is trying to get the students to take away from their time in his classroom. "The number one thing I want them to take away is music is a life long experience," Pregeant said. He went on to highlight several of his students who have taken their love of music and made it into their careers, including MPHS graduate Mason Jackson who received a dual degree in music education and trombone performance and is now teaching music and working as a band director in California.
"Even if they don't go beyond high school music makes you learn ho to be a listener," Pregeant said. "It is about building an audience for the arts and thinking about the arts as something you can touch; it is about art, music, choir, you name it. All these experiences stick with them."