Hartselle High School Symphonic Band to perform during statewide conference
The Hartselle High School Symphonic Band has been selected to perform at a statewide conference – one of two bands chosen for the honor.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Alabama Music Educators Association Conference Concert, which is traditionally held in Montgomery, Mobile or Birmingham, will be hosted in Hartselle virtually. The HHS symphonic band will perform a live concert Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. at the high school that will air during the conference the following night.
The live concert will be open to parents and anyone who wishes to attend, but face masks and social distancing will be required.
Director of Bands Randall Key said last year, students in his program were slighted because of the challenges presented by COVID-19. The program lost out on participating in the Night of Bands in September and the Southern Hospitality Marching Festival that has been hosted in Hartselle for 24 years. For these reasons, Key said he decided to apply for his students to perform in the concert next week.
The marching festival, Key said, was specifically disappointing to miss because it’s a program fundraiser.
“It’s something that a lot of bands rely on – bands travel from Mississippi, Tennessee and all over the state of Alabama to compete here in Hartselle,” he said.
“I didn’t feel like we had a sense of closure last year with the pandemic, but this year, this might be something that could be a high point for some of these students,” Key said, adding his students also missed out on performing in the Hartselle Christmas Parade when it was canceled because of the pandemic.
Key said much preparation has gone into this event since he found out Hartselle was accepted in September.
“There’s a lot to, it but it’s worth it. They have worked really hard, and it’s a once–in–a–lifetime opportunity,” he said. “The last time Hartselle performed during the AMEA conference was in the 90s. I think it’s good for the City of Hartselle, and I think it’s good for Hartselle City Schools.”
Key said performing a concert like this can be stressful for students because they have to play some music that is a little ambitious, “but they have been diligent, and they’re playing some really good college-level literature now. They’re excited about performing.”
Key’s students will play three pieces he calls “challenging,” along with two additional selections and a percussion ensemble piece.
“I want it to be easily enjoyable by anyone who attends, but I also want it to meet my criteria,” he said. “I pick music that will help these kids improve and help them be successful.
“I think folks will be impressed to see what our kids in Hartselle can do.”
The free concert will be held at the Hartselle High School auditorium Jan. 21 beginning at 7 p.m. The 1,200-seat auditorium will be open at less than half capacity because of the pandemic. The concert will be recorded and aired during the AMEA conference the following night and will be uploaded to YouTube.