Four OHS band members get special opportunity

Band students from across the area flooded onto SIUe’s campus on Jan. 22 and 23 for the annual Bi-State Band auditions.

Mr. Vance Brakefield, band director, nominated 30 OHS band students to try out to be members of the Bi-State Band, an audition trio of bands that helps students work on their performance and playing skills. Out of these students, four attended: RJ Martin (11), on trombone, Karissa May (10) on clarinet, Amber Hupperts (12)  on piccolo and flute, and Amber Cannon (11) on percussion.

These four students had to play a scale on their instruments and sight-read a piece of music. The judges then deliberated on which of the three bands they would be in. Martin was in Greenwell Festival Band, May and Cannon in Ahlemeyer Festival Band, and Hupperts in Kennedy Honor Band.

“It was really cool,” Hupperts said. “We got to practice and perform with our band and took Master Classes to improve our skills.”

The practice for each band started on Friday and ended after a seven and a half hour practice on Saturday. The bands then performed for friends and family. Martin, May, and Cannon’s Bands performed four songs, while Hupperts had to learn and perform five songs.

“The difficulty of everything really varied on what kind of instrument you play,” Martin said.

The students agree that it was a wonderful opportunity. They got to improve their skills, meet new people, and in May’s case, bring people to tears.

“One of our songs brought people to tears and we got a standing ovation,” May said. “It was written for a man who lost his four-month-old son, so anyone who has lost someone they love could really relate to it.”

Congratulations to these four talented OHS Band members.