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The beat of the bands

Molly Shore

John Burroughs ninth-grader Aaron Rice, who plays baritone saxophone

in the school’s Symphonic Band, was among 30 band members who

participated Friday in the school’s daylong music festival.


“I felt very confident what we were doing, especially since we

practice on the [Burroughs] stage all the time. At other schools I

don’t feel so confident,” Aaron said of the event, in its fifth year.

Although 17 groups from eight different schools, including the


city’s two high schools and three middle schools, performed that day,

they did not compete against each other. Instead, each group was

rated superior, excellent, good, fair or poor by three judges in the

auditorium, and by one judge in the band room where they performed

sight-reading pieces.

“We talk about it for four minutes,” Burroughs Band Director Paul

Vesilind said of the sight reading. “But I’m not allowed to tell them

how it goes or sing it to them. Key changes or tempo changes might be


tricky, so they look for it.”

When the 93 Jordan Middle School beginning band members performed

their sight-reading music, band director John Whitener told his

musicians, “If you don’t know the note, don’t play the note. You’ve

only been playing 25 weeks, so you may not know it.”