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Archived Story

Band Blast returns to AHS

Published 10:56am Friday, April 19, 2013

Austin High School band director Brad Mariska is bringing an Austin music tradition back to life.

Dating back to the 1970s, Band Blast was conceived by Conrad Muzik and quickly became a community highlight each spring of concert, jazz and marching selections.

“Immediately upon seeing the old posters, I knew I wanted to make Band Blast a big community event again,” said Mariska, who is in his first year as band director at AHS. “It’s not only an important outlet for student performance, but also an important gift back to the community.”

The Band Blast takes place on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. in Knowlton Auditorium at Austin High School. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Mariska started planning the program months ago, which includes standard band selections and classical transcriptions, but also more popular selections like Broadway musicals “Wicked” and “Phantom of the Opera.” The jazz band will perform the theme song to the popular animated television show “Family Guy.” There will also be performances by smaller ensembles, including a student-organized polka band and a special surprise performance by the Wind Ensemble’s trombone section.

The concert is the latest in a series of events that has brought the band program more into the public view throughout the course of the year. Mariska came to Austin after an eight-year stint as band director in Pine City, Minn.

“Directing the band and working with these awesome students is truly a blast every day,” says Mariska. “So in a manner of speaking, every day for me is a Band Blast. I hope that audience senses that energy at the concert.”

To showcase the talents of younger students, the concert will also feature performers from Ellis Middle School.

“It’s important that the Ellis students get a chance to perform on the ‘big’ stage at the High School, but that they also get to collaborate with, and listen to, their older peers,” Mariska said. “In a few years, these middle school students will be the stars of the high school band program and we want them to feel like a part of the program here and now.”

The concert will bring all sixth- through 12th-grade band students together to play “God Bless America.” The sounds of over 300 musicians will fill Knowlton Auditorium for the patriotic concert finale.


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