High school strikes up the bandPublished 12:44pm Friday, October 26, 2012
By Bradley Mariska, AHS Band Director
A high school band can be a true source of pride for a school and its community, and it is with great humility that I was hired to lead the band program at Austin High School.
Many of you may have already seen and heard the students as they took to the field at the Homecoming football game for the first time in several years, and not one but two marching bands were featured at the Homecoming Parade. High school students have also participated in Pep Band events for boys soccer and volleyball. The band has invigorated athletic performances using classic pep band tunes as well as the newest music from Lady Gaga, Rihanna and One Direction.
In addition, students have been working hard preparing for our formal concerts, which are literally only days away. The High School will feature its advanced groups in concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, at Knowlton Auditorium, with the Prep Concert on Nov. 8. Of course, the annual Holiday Concert featuring the entire AHS Music Department, will perform on Dec. 17. This is truly a “must-see” event.
Band students will soon be starting preparations for Solo/Ensemble Contest, All-State auditions, and winter Pep Band, where we hope to accompany the boys basketball team on another trip to state. But win, lose or draw, you can be sure that the band will be there.
This year also features a revived jazz program, and community members will hear the jazz band at the Red Cross benefit, “Swingin’ into Christmas” on Dec. 8. You’ll also want to mark your calendar for Sunday, Jan. 20, when the high school jazz band presents “Paramount Jazz” with special guests The Real Big Band from Mankato.
Look for the marching band this May at the Memorial Day parade and other major community events. I feel very strongly that a band is an important representative of an entire community and I take this responsibility seriously.
Finally, I must take a moment to thank the school administration, music colleagues, talented students and supportive parents that have made my transition to Austin a most exciting and rewarding experience. I am truly pleased and proud to lead the band program at AHS and hope that the community will come out to support these talented students in the year ahead.
—Mr. Mariska received a degree in Music Education from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, and a Master’s of Musicology from the University of Maryland. Mariska spent eight years teaching band in Pine City, Minn., before accepting the position at AHS.