Music to their ears

High school musicians come to Fresno State to perform, learn

Matt Weir/The Collegian

High school kids from across the Valley invaded the music department’s concert hall Friday April 1 to perform in the 12th annual Fresno State High School Band Invitational.

Gary Gilroy, Fresno State’s director of bands, co-hosted the event with associate band director Tim Anderson. Students who were nominated by Gilroy to form the marching band council coordinated everything from setting up to cleaning up.

“We are basically in charge of everything,” Lacee Sherman, marching band council president, said. “We set it all up, direct students where to go, and clean up with help from Dr. Gilroy. Today we got here at 7 a.m. and probably won’t leave until around 10 p.m.”

Saturday April 3 and Sunday April 4 is the 35th Annual Dr. Lawrence R. Sutherland Intercollegiate Wind Festival.

Sherman said they have been planning this event for about a month. This weekend was this band council’s first event for the upcoming season.

This year 15 high schools attended the event that Fresno State’s Associated Students, Inc. helped get fund. “We want ASI to know how much we appreciate the help and support in getting these events going,” Gilroy said.

Each school is given an allotted time to perform musical numbers that four judges listen to. These judges, however, give no scores or points for the performances, but rather give pointers and compliments to the students.

Once the school has finished its performance, the students got a chance to meet with Gary Green, a conductor at the University of Miami, where he gives feedback on the performance.

Green didn’t stop at just telling the high school musicians how they can do better, he actually had them pick up their instruments to show them.

“It’s so cool that we got him working at the event,” Gilroy said. “His knowledge is great for these kids. They really can benefit from this.”

Having the high school students on campus is a great recruiting tool that gives the students an opportunity to perform at a college, see college students at work and just gives them a positive outlook on what Fresno State has to offer.

“They get to meet the music department faculty and see the facilities,” Shannon Weber, a music education major, said. “I think they really benefit from it all.”

Halfway through the day, the Fresno State Symphonic Band, led by Anderson performs for the high schools and later in the evening the Fresno State Wind Orchestra led by Gilroy performs. The high schools get the opportunity to witness firsthand what it’s like for a college to perform.

Weber said the high schools have to attend a number of festivals throughout the year and this one just happens to be one that some choose to come to. Schools from Clovis, Reedley and even San Luis Obispo show up to the festival.

“It’s a really long weekend, but it is all worth it,” Weber said. “It’s what we call love for music.”

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