April 12, 2001

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


The snow is almost past tense. It is time to stop cocooning and renew our friendship with our fellow Elyites who have also been hiding from the cold. The best way to do this is to attend the Ely High School Band’s Spring Concert. Band Director Dale Lhotka has put together a concert that will make even the most frozen tulip start to feel the sun.

This is our chance, as well, to see some of Ely’s most talented musicians. The band is back from their yearly regional competition with other Range bands and this year Ely smoked them. The band, as a whole, received three Superiors, the highest score possible. For frosting on the cake , fourteen students received Superior for either solo or ensemble work. Eight out of ten of the solo/ensemble offerings are going on to the State Competition in May. This compares to most other high schools who are lucky just to have two offerings going to State. Yes, this is truly a good year for Ely High School in both Sports and Music.

For Superior Musicians like Casey Rusco, Alexa Sorensen, and Sueanne Dolentz this is their last year as Seniors and our last chance to hear their talents before they head off to college. All three of these students contributed to Ely overwhelming the other Range schools in competition.

The musical dinner that is being prepared by Chef Lhotka will compare with some of the finest offerings seen in our town’s finest restaurants. The appetizers are being served by the Junior High Band starting with a concert march entitled “Omaha Beach.” This will be followed by “A Hymn for Band” and then the Henry Mancini classic “Baby Elephant Walk.” The Junior High Band’s final offering is their favorite and is entitled “Knightsbridge Overture.”

To season our ears before the Senior High Band takes the stage will be three solos by some of Ely’s Superior rated students. Alexa Sorensen will play on her golden Conn French horn Mozart’s “Horn Concerto No. 1 in D Major” and will be accompanied on piano by Ely’s favorite master of the ivories, Casey Rusco. Casey then takes center stage with a piano solo.

A final solo will be “Dance of the Slovaks” played by Adria Sorensen on trombone. She will be accompanied by an Apple computer using a special program that has helped many students improve their skills. The Smart Music Studio program plays the accompaniment for a student and actually keeps up to the student in tempo even if the student is playing the piece slowly. This allows the student to work on a piece at the level they are at. Students can tell the computer to play a certain section over and over until the student masters it. The Smart Music Studio was used by several students at this year’s contest in order to enhance their piece with a proper accompaniment. Adria Sorensen received a Superior for this piece and was one of several students who utilized Smart Music to have a proper accompaniment for the contest.

After these solos come four main courses served by the entire Senior High Band. The first course is "Centuria" which contains a lovely flute solo by Andrea Aldrich. The piece “On a Hymn Song of Philip Bliss” is an exceptionally powerful piece that really works the band hard. For example the flutes have 5 flats and the style of the piece is very soft and sensitive. The band has been working on this piece for two years.

The following piece is what the band played at contest that won three Superior Ratings. It is entitled “Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo” and features various soloists from each section of the band. This is a college level piece that we can be proud our Ely band has mastered.

For dessert, Chef Lhotka has “Castlewood Overture” that will promise to satisfy and delight everyone’s ears. In case you desire “seconds” of this award winning band you are in luck. A final Pop’s Concert will be offered on May 21 at Whiteside Park at 6:00 PM with a BBQ Dinner being offered by the Music Band Boosters. It will be your chance to feed both your stomach and your ears. Proceeds to go to the Ely Band program.

Please join the Ely Junior and Senior High Band this Friday, April 20th, at Washington Auditorium for this exciting concert that begins at 7:00 p.m. It is guaranteed to be a feast for the ears. Bon appetit!


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