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Gate City High students participate in Virginia Tech Honor Band

Staff Report • Feb 4, 2018 at 3:30 PM

GATE CITY — Two Gate City High School students took a trip to Blacksburg last month to participate in the 21st annual Virginia Tech Honor Band.

The event was held Jan. 19-21 on the Virginia Tech campus. Students are selected by the university based on a number of factors, including how they ranked at All-District Band, their chair position and their band director’s comments.

Courtney Cassell and Zachary Chapman were nominated by their band director, Richard Lake. According to Virginia Tech officials, a total of 369 students were selected to participate this year.

Once on campus, students auditioned before judges to determine where they rank and in which band they would perform. Students are placed in either the Gold Hokie Band, Maroon Hokie Band, Orange Hokie Band or Silver Hokie Band.

This was Cassell’s second year and Chapman’s first year attending. Cassell ranked first chair clarinet with a solo in Silver Band, while Chapman ranked third chair alto saxophone in Silver Band.

A concert was held on the last day of the event at the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre in the Moss Arts Center on the Virginia Tech campus. The students have only about 10 hours instruction and practice time to learn advanced pieces of music for the concert.

The Silver Hokie Band was taught and conducted by William Petersen, the director of bands at the University of South Alabama.

Students performed three pieces of music: “Joy in All Things,” written by Brian Balmage; “Hymn for the Innocent,” written by Julie Giroux; and “Puszta: Four Gipsy Dances — Andante Moderato, Tranquillo, Allegro Molto, Marcato,” written by Jan Van der Roost.

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