Final band, choir concerts approach, seniors last high school music experience

Image By Staff Writer: Marissa VanDaelen

It’s been a long, successful year for Howell High School band and choir students and final concerts are coming up soon. Of course, these are the last concerts for seniors who are involved. The last band concert is May 20 at 7 p.m. in the HHS auditorium. The last choir concert is May 15 at 7 p.m., also in the auditorium. The final choir concert will be ticketed. It’s $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for students and senior citizens. Both concerts are sure to be compelling and definitely bittersweet for seniors.

“I feel relieved by the last concert. I mean, it’s a long hall. We start rehearsing the first day of school. The last concert is our light/pop concert and it’s basically run by the kids. I just conduct a few things. We do have senior solos and eight kids are doing them. It’s a really fun event,” choir teacher, Mr. Rodney Bushey, says.

Likewise, band teacher, Mr. Jason Smigell seems to be relieved when it comes to the last band concert too.

“Usually, by the time of the final concert, it’s been a long year. There have been a lot of accomplishments, triumphs, failures, and all kinds of things. I don’t really get sad anymore when it comes to the last concert because I’ve been doing this for so many years. Even though I’m sad to see the seniors go, it just starts the cycle over again,” Mr. Smigell says.

Since it is the end of the year, it’s expected that all band and choir students will be giving a wonderful performance. These final concerts will be especially spectacular and perhaps surreal for seniors in band and choir. After all, it is their last musical experience of their high school careers.

“I enjoy it a lot because the kids are never playing better than they are right at the end of the year. It’s an enjoyable concert. Everybody’s well-trained and they’re making very nice music. There are some really artistic moments that happen during the final concert so I always feel great,” Mr. Smigell says.

Along with the final band concert, there will be many creative and compassionate components to the final choir concert as well.

“It always feels challenging. We all say goodbye to seniors during the last concert. We put their picture up, read their name, and they each get a flower. It’s a neat farewell. If someone asks me if we do the last concert two nights, I say, ‘No, you can only say goodbye to seniors once’,” Mr. Bushey says.

For senior Daniel Grigsby, band has been his life throughout high school. He certainly doesn’t plan to stop when he goes off to college. Grigsby is going to attend Eastern Michigan University for music and it seems as though his band experience at HHS has been nothing but beneficial to him.

“I know this is going to be a nice but yet sad experience. I’m going to miss being in high school band but it’s going to be really great to be out of high school. I really enjoyed the time I had in band, and I learned a lot of things that I’m going to be using in the future. Music is something that I’m really interested in doing for my career and life,” Grigsby says.

For senior Keane Garcelon, band has played a significant role in his life since middle school and choir has played a significant role since sophomore year. He has absolutely no intentions of giving up his musical passions.

“I’m going to college for vocal performance so the fact that this is something I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life and yet this is my last high school experience, the reality of that hasn’t sunk in yet.I really enjoyed my musical experience in high school though. I plan on incorporating music in my future by singing with some opera company somewhere,” Garcelon says.

It’s obvious that all seniors will have a phenomenal last concert, whether they’re in choir or band. Although it may be a bit melancholy, there are bright futures to look forward to.

“Keep playing your instruments and find a way to keep making music after high school. So many kids, when they graduate, don’t continue to make music. As a musician, you can play all the way until you die,” Mr. Smigell says.

Mr. Bushey, also has some words of advice:“Don’t go into the world with your hands open, looking for somebody to give you something. Go with your hands outstretched to help somebody and find something that you can do to give yourself back. Don’t try to be a receiver. Try to be a giver. Don’t be fearful either. Some seniors are fearful about leaving but try to find yourself and be a contributor to something.”