Every day, 170 students meet at differing times during the school day to create music. These bands, Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band, are both very important aspects of the Prairie Music Program.
Craig Aune and Deron Jimmerson are the band directors. They each have a large stake in teaching music to their students and enjoy their careers immensely.
But the unique quality of band, is the fact that the creation of music is more than just the teachers, it is more than the instruments, more than the notes, it is about the people within the band who work together to create a single piece of music.
Playing an instrument and continually working at improving technical skills can be tedious. Samantha Ehler admits, “The trials of band are all of the hours we put in, all the late nights. Another trial is trying over and over to get something right and just not getting it.”
However, it is because of these struggles that “some of the best parts of band are after all of the hours of hard work, the accomplished feeling. The feeling that you created something really cool.” Samantha Ehler explained.
Band class is unparalleled in Prairie High School; no other class is similar. “I think that band is different from my other classes because the curriculum is much different for band. In normal classes, it’s based on how you can take tests when they are given. In band, it’s based on how you can contribute to the larger group of people you are playing with.” Luka Elges explained.
Collaboration between teammates is an important characteristic of a great sports team. Similarly, to effectively pull off a beautiful arrangement, musicians sense each other’s “beat” and listen across the room to opposite sections of instruments in order to interweave themselves into the music.
“Band for me is an escape from the other classes that I have throughout the day, it relieves stress from some of the homework of my other classes. I often catch myself wishing that regular band was at the end of the day because then I would have something to look forward to.” Luka Elges said.
Additionally, a large contribution to the band is Marching Band season. For some, it is the best experience of high school. During the summer, students attend “Band Camp” for two weeks and meet at the high school, learning Marching Band “drill” for their sets of the show and toiling in the extreme conditions, rain or shine, these students persevere.
All of this work accumulates for the Marching Band show, an exhilarating experience where every student works, steps, and plays together to create a single melody of interactive music.
Band builds character, it teaches life skills while the student work on playing their instrument. Samantha Ehler adds,“Marching band is a blast. Marching band makes me learn flexibility and time management. The best part of the season is performing our whole show at state and seeing all of our hard work pay off.”
All in all, Band and Marching Band are two of the greatest experiences a student can find at Prairie High School. Collaboration, time management, relief, flexibility, and a sense of self are discovered and wielded to become a tool for their adult life in music.
“Where words fail, music speaks.” ~Hans Christian Andersen