Seniors’ bittersweet last concert brings tears of joy

As the school year draws to a close, seniors prepare to say their goodbyes as they continue their journeys toward college. For some, these bittersweet moments came early at the Senior Band Recognition Concert on Thursday, April 19, in McCain Chapel.

Many of the seniors recognized at the concert had long histories with the Westminster band program. Many had begun playing in band when they were as young as ten and eleven.

“I’ve known most of them since sixth grade,” said band instructor Scotty Jones. “I’ve watched them grow throughout junior high and seen them get nervous for high school. Then, as they got older, I was there for their driver’s licenses and prom dates. It’ll be tough to see this group go to college. We’ve had seven great years together.”

The concert began with a piece by the ninth and tenth grade symphonic band, which played a song called “Foundry.”

“It started off very happy, like it was a celebration of the seniors’ accomplishments,” said junior Kylar Dietrich.

Later, a slide-show tribute for the class of 2012 was shown, and the eleventh grade band members joined the symphonic band for a second song. Afterward, the senior band members played two songs, and band director Freddy Martin presented awards.

“[Martin] wrote specific awards for each student,” said Dietrich. “You could really tell how bonded the senior class was with the teachers.”

Finally, the seniors gave the teachers awards of their own. “It definitely showed how much they all really love band and appreciate everything the teachers do for them,” said Dietrich.

Dietrich’s older sister, Carson, who plays the clarinet, played in her final concert.

“It was sad and happy at the same time,” said the senior. “I couldn’t have asked for a better ending concert.”

“I’ve been in band since fifth grade, and it’s definitely been the foundation for my time at Westminster,” said senior flautist and co-president of band, Mary Brass. “Four days a week I know exactly where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing and that’s really comfortable.”

Other senior members of the band value the musical knowledge they have gained from being in the program.

“Band has been a really great experience because I’ve learned so much musically,” said senior Raymond Monasterski, trombonist and band co-vice president. “It has been a healthy diversion from the school day, and I think that it’s very important that we have band. I have developed a strong appreciation for music here that will definitely serve me well in the future.”

Senior alto saxophone player Deric Long has also learned a lot from band.

“Mr. Martin showed me a lot of things that I wouldn’t have learned at any other school,” said Long. “The program is advanced, and we definitely play very challenging pieces. I’ve gotten much better at my instrument in my time here. Being in band has taught me that if you stick with something long enough, you’ll get to the top. Performing was fun. It was very nostalgic because I knew it was my last performance, and that I probably wouldn’t be on that stage again.”