The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

January 10, 2013

Hitting the right note

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Albion Central School District’s youngest musicians performed together as a full band for the first time this week, launching into the opening movement of a composition that will last through the many years.

Elementary Band Director Wayne Burlison has seen and heard this scene more than a dozen times, as students who’ve practiced in small groups since September get their first taste of being in an orchestra.

“It’s always a roll of the die,” Burlison said Tuesday morning shortly before 75 students packed around his conducting stand. “I get to see how they jell ... so far the flutes have gotten used to being with the flutes, and the other instruments with their groups, but now we’re bring them all together.”

“It’s controlled chaos.”

It felt chaotic as students filled into Burlison’s classroom at the start of school Tuesday and then filled the air with the sound and energy of an approaching stampede.

But once they got their first notes togehter out of the way, the class began to “make the beautiful sounds” that their conductor said should always be their goal. From his perch in the middle of the action, Burlison got right into the day’s lesson, one centered on keeping time and playing the right notes.

The band will start every class with concert b-flat, a note that brings all 75 students together on the same note. They learned it Tuesday before moving onto an increasingly complex call-and-repeat exercise where students matched what Burlison played on his trumpet.

The practice marked the start of weekly preparations for the March 13 All-District Instrumental Concert. This year’s fourth-graders will perform on the same stage as many of the students who once made up the beginner band.

“I’ve started to see kids who’ve gone all the way through the program and graduated,” Burlison said. “I try to prepare them for that.”

Contact reporter Jim Krencikat 798-1400, ext. 6327.