By Kathryn Rice

The Jefferson C-123 concert band has grown over the last four years under the direction of vocal and instrumental teacher Cecily Lanier.

There were five band members when Lanier began directing. This year, there are 24. All 14 of Jefferson’s junior high students are participating. Because the band alternates with chorus classes, members practice about two days a week.

“The biggest obstacle to the band program, and fine arts in general, is keeping the students involved until their senior years,” Lanier said. “The state education requirements get stricter all the time, and with only one required fine arts credit for the whole high school plan, students are often forced to leave our programs because of other required classes.”

Jefferson band members perform in two school concerts and play the National Anthem for basketball games. In addition, each trumpeter learns to play Taps for Veterans Day and other community ceremonies.

Aside from their regular performances, band members play holiday music in December for area retirement communities and participate in the Festivals of Music at Worlds of Fun.

Nicolas Stoll, junior, said he enjoys band because it’s “the understanding of something different. Having a talent that isn’t as common as sports or art. To have band allows you to have your own niche and fit in with people with similar interests.”

“I’ve grown up playing music with my parents,” Jessica Hutson, senior, said. “It relaxes you.”

The band is currently practicing for the newly-formed 275 Conference Band event on Monday, November 7 at Northwest. The event culminates with a free concert at 5:30 pm at the Ron Houston Performing Arts Center.

“Families provide their own instruments and, if not able to, the superintendent and the school board have been very generous in purchasing instruments for the school so that any student who wants to participate can,” Lanier said.

“I like how we can all create music together,” freshman Lacy Carlson, said. “Music can make you feel different emotions. I plan to stay in until I graduate.”

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