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McPherson College Band Performs at State Convention

The McPherson College Concert Band made school history when it was selected to perform for the first time ever at the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) State Convention in Wichita on February 24. It was among just four collegiate concert bands in the state selected to perform.

“It’s hard to believe that just five years ago we had only eight students enrolled in the band,” Kyle Hopkins, associate professor of music and director of bands at McPherson College, said. “We have grown to the biggest band in our conference and we’re one of only four college bands in the state invited to perform in one of the coveted concerts at KMEA. So this is quite a milestone for our program.”

The band’s program, titled “Hooked on Classics,” included masterworks “A Festival Prelude” by Alfred Reed, and “2nd Suite in F” by Gustav Holst. It also featured flutist Lillian Oeding, a sophomore from Wichita on Cécile Chaminade’s “Concertino.”

“The McPherson College Concert Band was one of the very best things I heard at the convention this year,” Johannah Cox, band director of Lawrence Public Schools, said. “The literature choice and soloist were most impressive and the group was so musical.”

Being selected to perform at the convention was an honor for the members of the band, according to Micah Waugh, a senior majoring in business management and marketing from Lindsborg who plays euphonium.

“It was a fun and exciting day. Also, a little nerve-racking playing on such a big stage with so many distinguished musicians in the auditorium. The band performs three times a year, but this was just a whole new level of performance for us,” Waugh said. “When I started playing in the band my freshman year there was just fifteen of us. Each year the band has gotten bigger and better. I’m really glad that I have been able to continue to participate in band through college. When I was considering colleges, playing in the band was not something I thought I would be able to do.”

The KMEA state convention is attended by thousands of elementary, middle school, high school and college music educators and features workshops and clinics as well as performances by the all-state ensembles and selected performance groups. The convention is held at Century II Convention Center in Wichita. In addition to the band’s performance, McPherson College Associate Professor of Music and Choir Director James Bowyer also presented at the conference. His presentation was titled, “Anatomy of the Choral Rehearsal.”

The McPherson College Music Department offers majors in both music and music education. Every year the choir, concert band, and select ensembles tour to churches and schools in Kansas and neighboring states, culminating with a home concert. And for 30 years, the choir and select instrumental ensembles have traveled and performed internationally every four to five years. In January 2019, the department is planning a trip to Jamaica to perform and provide service to local churches and schools.

The McPherson College Concert Band’s next performance will be May 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Brown Auditorium at McPherson College. The College Choir will perform its Spring Concert on May 6 at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Brethren in McPherson.