Music is one of the pride and joys of Prairie. Band being just one part of that, but what a powerful part it truly is.
One of the band teachers, Craig Aune shares that, “Band is an elective class and there are nearly 200 kids in band and color-guard combined, nearly 200. And if you think about it then every 1 in 5 kids that you walk past in the hall is in band or color-guard.”
So what is it that makes band such a popular class that students love? The students and the teachers all have different reasons that they love band class.
Alexa Ganzeveld(12) plays the trumpet and says that she loves band because, “I just think it’s like a really big family kinda. I feel like it’s really easy to just go up and talk to people that you don’t know. Like it’s just normal because it’s so collaborative.”
“I love band because I feel that it’s a huge stress reliever. It’s something that allows you to express yourself and other things without using words.” Comments Abby Tiedeman (11) who plays the flute.
Dalen Maresh (12) a trombone player loves band because of the variety, “I’d say I love band mostly because it branches out into many different styles and performance settings and it offers so many opportunities that I really couldn’t have in many other activities.”
The family idea is one reason that the instructors touch on as well. “I think it’s just that whole camaraderie and the family aspect and performing and music and movement and all that stuff combined makes for a really interesting class that you can take when you’re in high school,” Aune states when speaking of why students take band and stay in band.
He mentions how the band program has a “huge retention rate” and that, “If there is an elective class and we have almost 200 kids electing to do that year after year, there’s gotta be something really positive that’s happening.”
Maybe the positivity comes from all of the support and good leadership shown. Maybe it’s that all three grades come together as one.
“There’s not a lot of classes that integrate sophomores, juniors, and seniors. So there’s just not a lot of opportunity for those kids to be integrated like they are. So I think it gives them really strong leadership and having upperclassman, that put their arms around them and say ‘Here’s what we’re gonna do’” The support that Aune points out seems to be a really important element in the music world.
Deron Jimmerson, a band director at Prairie High, goes on to mention how not just Prairie’s band but all bands support each other. “One of our last events of the season is probably one of our favorites, the Metro Marching Band Classic. It’s noncompetitive so all the schools in Cedar Rapids, including Linn Mar and Marion and Xavier and us. All of those schools get together and just perform for fun. All the bands watch each other and cheer.”
The love for the band program here at Prairie is truly something to see and people love it for all sorts of reasons. For some it’s the support and the family aspect, for others it’s the ability to express oneself through music, or for the opportunities and variety that are within the program.
One thing is for sure though about band students, as Aune said, “If they give it a try, 99% of the time they fall in love with it.”
Photo Credit: Craig Aune and Deron Jimmerson