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Huntley students participate in county Honor’s Band

Huntley participates in McHenry County Honor's Band (Randi Peterson/The Voice)

At 2 p.m. on Jan. 21, 17 Huntley students participated in the McHenry County Honor Band’s 36th Annual Festival Concert in Crystal Lake South’s auditorium.

Johnsburg, Alden-Hebron, Harvard, Marengo, Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Prairie Ridge, McHenry, Richmond Burton, Woodstock, Woodstock North, and Marian Central were also represented by student musicians.

The concert was preceded by a performance of “The Star Spangeled Banner” and consisted of six compositions. The music varied from Clifton Williams’s lively “Symphonic Dance No. 3 ‘Fiesta,’” a song expressing a Latin American party to Michael Colgrass’s majestic and mysterious “Old Churches.”

“We’re doing a lot of unique music,” said guest conductor Colin Clarke.

The performance also included a chorale, which the director had written himself and included as practice for the students, who had to memorize and sing their parts.

“With [the chorale], it helped me so much, trying to remember the pitches of the instruments, how to really treat a warm sense of sound,” said sophomore trombone, Joshua Katz.

The students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, were recommended by Huntley band director Nick Konwerski this past fall and received notification of acceptance to the band in mid November. Chair auditions were held on Jan. 11, where music was distributed and the band first practiced together on Jan. 19, two days before the concert and had additional practices the day before and the day of the concert.

Though given limited time and difficult music, the band put on a performance worthy of a standing ovation under the skilled direction of Clarke.

Clarke, a Canadian native, travels around the United States and Canada guest conducting youth bands. He has extensive experience in musical performance as the founder of the award-winning Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra and director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra among other achievements.

“I just learned how to articulate the music with the help of Colin,” said Katz. He was the best conductor I’ve had in any honors band. He just helped me so much.”

Clarke kept the performance fun and light-hearted, constantly interacting with the students and cracking jokes for the audience.

All 123 of the student musicians who participated in the band have learned skills to improve their own skills and skills to take back to their respective high schools from working with other skilled musicians and under an experienced director.

“This experience was for sure helpful for me as a musician,” said Katz. “I have a lot I can bring back to the school to help everybody.”


Huntley participants:

Elena Auchstetter: senior, French horn

Madeline Bartot: senior, flute

Jon Boster: senior, alto saxophone, second chair

Cody Cramer: senior, French horn

Preet Dhillon: junior, clarinet

Sidharth Duvvuri: senior, tenor saxophone

AJ Fanselow: junior, alto saxophone, third chair

Katie Gallegos: sophomore, tuba

Jenna Gaudio: senior, flute

Katie Girard: senior, clarinet

Jeffrey Husak: senior, trumpet

Joshua Katz: sophomore, trombone

Dalton Macari: junior, tuba

Morgan Mikulay: junior, French horn

Max Peterson: sophomore, trombone

Megan Wilson: sophomore, bassoon

Jacob Wolinsky: sophomore, euphonium, first chair


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