Getting the bands together

Brandon Chavez rehearses music from “Hawaii-Five-O” on Monday during Richard Hopkin’s Jazz Band class.

CAMERON WALKER/ Boomerang staff

Students in Laramie Middle School’s intermediate, varsity and jazz bands are preparing for their first official performance of the school year the free concert is at 7 p.m. Thursday at the school’s gym, band teacher Richard Hopkins said.

“This will be (the band’s) first official performance,” he said. “They only thing they have done up to this point is band day with the university, at half time during the football game in September.”

The bands would play jazz, blues and other types of music the bands worked on throughout the semester, along with marching band songs, he said. Hopkins said he has been working with the band members to work on their improvisation and playing music, such as jazz and the blues, is a way they can show it off.

“I just thought we would play some fun pieces for the concert,” he said. “They are going to be playing some blues, ‘Hawaii-Five-O’ and they are also playing ‘Car Wash’, which is a bluesy-disco song from the ’70s.”

Hopkins said a problem he is experiencing is he only has one opportunity for the bands to practice together before the performance. If he were to gather all of the students to rehearse it could create problems in other classes, he said.

“I’ll get them together one time before the concert and that is not enough,” Hopkins said. “If I try to do it too much then I’m taking them out of classes and that becomes a problem, teachers get upset and I don’t blame them.”

Even though the bands are rehearsing at different times, Jazz Band alto saxophone player Cade Nyquist said he thinks they are ready to perform in the concert.

“I’m not too nervous because we have a pretty good band,” Nyquist said. “We have been practicing a lot and we pretty much have all of our songs down.”

Hopkins said the majority of LMS band students continue their music education and join the Laramie High School Band for at least one year after graduating from middle school.

“We will probably get 75 percent that stay in at the high school,” he said. “I think that probably almost all this year’s seventh grade band kids would be going on (to the high school band) as long as there isn’t a scheduling problem.”

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