May 11, 2000

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


It is Springtime in Ely and music is in the air. Come next Monday, music will be blooming at Washington Auditorium when Ely’s Junior High band and the award winning Senior High Band will be giving their Spring Concert at 7:00 p.m.

The Junior High Band will play first. Highlights include the musical composition “Lantern in the Wind” that has an interesting introductory narrative by Brian Kess. That will be followed with the very lyrical piece entitled “Air for Band” by Frank Erickson. The Junior High Band’s favorite will be “The Tempest.” The musicians enjoy the powerful melody in this song that sounds like a storm.

Having just finished the State Competition two weeks ago, the Senior High Band is primed and ready for their home audience. They will start with a rousing rendition of John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Strips.” The next piece will be the composition that won them an “Excellent” rating at State. It is simply called “Canto” and it is by Francis McBeth. The “Canto”, with rhythmic clapping is considered a classic by band directors because it is thickly scored and full of wonderful melodies.

A quintet of brass players will perform the energetic “Die Bankelsangerlieder” by Speer. The group is composed of John Slover and Jordan Stocks on trumpet, Adria Sorensen playing trombone, Alexa Sorensen on French horn and Chelsea Cunningham playing tuba.

A show stopper will undoubtedly be “God of Our Father” which will be performed with the help of two local church choirs. Both Grace Lutheran’s and Ely Baptist’s church choirs will sing along with the Senior High Band. Grace Lutheran is under the direction of Mr. Lyle Klein and Ely Baptist is under the direction of Mrs. Joan Larsen. In addition, this piece also features Casey Rusco performing on flute and piccolo.

If the audience claps with enthusiasm, Mr. Dale Lhotka, the School District Band Director, promises a fantastic encore. The title of the hoped for encore will be “At a Dixieland Jazz Funeral.” This piece starts out with the entire band playing in a slow mournful manner. Soon the tempo picks up with a hot brass sound featuring soloists Jeremy Niskala on trumpet, Molly Vitek on clarinet, Adria Sorensen on trombone and Ryan Hall on tuba. The entire band then catches the Jazz fever and joins in with a great Dixie ending.

Lhotka hopes the whole town will turn out to hear the Spring Concert. Tickets are only $4.00 for adults and $2.00 for senior citizens and students. Proceeds go to the Band fund. In between the playing of the Junior and Senior bands Lhotka will be presenting this year’s awards to many students who have worked hard to make this an award winning band. This has been Lhotka’s first year as Ely’s District Band Director and he thinks it has been an excellent year, thanks to Ely being such a “great town.”

Ely can be proud of the Senior High Band’s performance at State Competition where they got an Excellent rating from all three judges. Special note must be given to those Ely band members who competed in group or individual competitions at State. Alexa Sorensen received the highest rating of Superior for her French horn solo. She used an Apple Computer that played a synthesized accompaniment to her solo. This was the first time that Ely has used computers in formal competition and the judges were impressed. Sorensen had to not only to play her French horn, but also ran the computer. During the school year students can use this “Smart Music” program to help them practice their instruments with accompanying music.

Molly Vitek was the only other soloist from Ely to compete. She played a clarinet solo accompanied by Casey Rusco on the piano. Vitek won the second highest rating of Excellent for her efforts.

The only large ensemble group to perform at the state level was a clarinet quintet composed of Molly Vitek, Sueanne Dolentz, Colleen Rogers, Nora Thoren and Casey Bosch. They were very proud to receive the highest rating of Superior for their performance. The group will be performing their award winning “Allegro” by Bach during the Spring Concert. Molly Vitek and Colleen Rogers played a duet piece for clarinet that also won Superior.

This concert will not be the last for this year’s bands. Lhotka promises a terrific performance by a Brass Choir for the Memorial Day Service. Also, the 4th of July will be Mr. Lhotka’s marching debut. He has never fielded a marching band before and looks forward to “moving music” for a fun 4th of July Parade.


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