Holiday concert features special award for high school band
Before the Dartmouth High School band opened its annual holiday concert on December 21, a special guest joined master of ceremonies John Nunes on stage.
That special guest was Michael Jackman, from Rep. Bill Keating's office, who brought with him Congressional commendations for each member of the band, color guard, and instructors in recognition of their latest first-place finish in the USBands National Championships.
“We were proud when we read about the national championship that the marching band achieved this past fall, and we thought it should be an occasion that shouldn’t go without notice by Congress,” Jackman said before inviting Band Director William Kingsland on stage to accept his commendation.
Once the awards were out of the way, the music started. With a wide array of percussion, jazz, and classical Christmas music, the concert featured performances by both the high school and Dartmouth Middle School eighth grade band.
“The idea behind this is I want to show the eighth graders what’s coming up,” Kingsland said, noting it is right around the time when future high school freshmen begin course selection.
Preparing for the annual holiday show so close to the band’s competitive season is tough.
“It’s a very quick turnover,” Kingsland said.
While the eighth grade band worked on its routines since September, the high school band only began last month after its busy competitive season wound down.
“A lot of kids will play a different instrument in the marching band and will need to flip back,” Kingsland said.
With all the musical arrangements, many students had their own personal favorites. Bobby Lamothe is particularly found of a song from Polar Express included in the concert.
“It’s one of my favorite songs to play,” Lamothe said.
Others, like Michael Cabral, enjoyed the challenge a set of Russian Christmas songs presents. They are some of the toughest acts in the concert, Kingsland noted.
“The endings just hits us with everything we have,” Cabral said. “But I’m really excited to hear how it sounds.”
Cabral added that he enjoys the opportunity to just perform music, as opposed to the demanding marches the competitive season includes.
“It makes you more dynamic as a musician,” Cabral said. “It helps us become more of musicians than performers.”