Junior high students perform at honor band, choir

Being in junior high, seventh and eighth graders normally don’t get the same opportunities as high school students, but this year the junior high students were given the chance to go to an honor band and choir event.

On Feb. 4, members of Yutan’s junior high band and choir classes traveled to Stanton, Neb., to perform at a concert. The group of 8 band and 6 choir students along with 2 teachers left at 6 o’clock to make the hour-and-a-half drive before spending 11 hours in Stanton with about 500 students from around 30 different schools.

Junior high band students pose for a silly picture at the Stanton honor band. From left to right are: Isaac Anderson, Otto Henkel, Peyton Reed, Wyatt Lloyd, Amalea Vaughn-Lantzer, Kinsley Smith, Norah Jones (Courtesy photo)

The participating students were selected based on the ratings their teachers gave them, rating them one through ten.

“[The teachers] were sent a rating form for the students that wanted to go…I gave a recommendation for each of the kids that wanted to go and then based on that, they were placed within the group,” band director Hunter Holoubek said.

During the event, the students and teachers received their performance songs and were given rehearsal time in two-hour increments, along with breaks in between. The band class rehearsed five songs while the choir class did five, and the two classes used their preparation to perform at the end-of-the-day concert.

Students were presented with different opportunities while at Stanton, one was the ability to work with people they wouldn’t normally get the chance to work with otherwise, like Neb. choir director Cindy Booth.

“[Cindy Booth] has done an amazing job throughout her career. So it was really cool for the kids to really work with someone like that,” K-12 vocal director Matthew Gunter said.

Students were also able to see what it was like to perform with other people, which gave them a different outlook.

“It was really, I think, motivating to our students to just get to go and see what playing with other students is like…It was really cool for our students and the other students to get to work together and create some good music with each other,” Holoubek said.

At Stanton, the interaction with other students created opportunities for new friendships.

Junior high choir students pose for a funny picture at the honor band and choir event they attented. Top row left to right are: Ryan Drews, Corwin Cantrell, Erika Sons, front Izaiah Hancock, Charlie Tasich, Sam Janning (Courtesy photo)

“They also get to meet kids around Nebraska that are also interested in the same thing they’re interested in, which is fantastic,” Gunter said. 

Students also found new passions for themselves they didn’t realize they would enjoy before. 

“It gives you an opportunity to meet new people and to learn new interests,” eighth-grade band student Amalea Vaughn-Lanzter said.

Students were given many new opportunities since they previously hadn’t gone to an event like this.

“It was a lot of fun, and it was my first time doing it, so it was a great experience,” seventh-grade choir student Izaiah Hancock said.

Overall, both the students and directors were satisfied with how the day ended up turning out.

“It was an awesome opportunity for myself and my students, and I’m really proud of them for all that they put in,” Holoubek said.