For the past four years, Mr. Kevin Langejans has taken his middle school bands to the MSBOA State Concert Band Festival with one goal: to be the best they could be. This year, hours of class work and dedicated preparation paid off in spades when they were delivered with news of both 7th and 8th grades bands receiving perfect scores!
Held this year at Otsego High School, the Festival consists of a panel of four adjudicators that judge bands on the musical concepts of tone, intonation, rhythm, technique and interpretation. Mr. Langejans compares Festival to the “MEAP” of the band world, where a score of “one” (out of four) in each category represents the highest possible grade. With 230 ensembles participating across the state, the likelihood of receiving all ones is very slim, making the achievements of our students all the more noteworthy!
To underscore this feat, it is incredible to consider that these bands often practice in segments that are separated throughout the day. Perhaps one section of musicians learns and practices during first hour, while the rest of the group is taught in second hour. Mr. Langejans has to find a way to weave the class together seamlessly, getting everyone on track and ready to perform for judges with just a handful of whole group practices.
With each key being examined and every pitch scrutinized, leading a group of young musicians has proven to be a challenge that comes with great rewards.
Kalyn Lemke is one of the seventh graders who is still reveling in this achievement. A flute player, Kalyn recalled the excitement she felt when she returned to the bus and heard her teacher make the announcement.
“It was such a good experience to get on the bus and hear that we got all “ones”— I was shocked!“
Still, Mr. Langejans is quick to point out that despite the high praise his students deserve for their efforts, what matters most to him is not the performance delivered on a single day, but rather the effort given each day in class.
“I was very pleased to have scored perfectly, of course,…but without a doubt the work they do in the classroom is more important than just one day in front of judges.”
We join the community in congratulating Mr. Langejans and the middle school bands for their outstanding dedication to excellence and phenomenal work at Festival!