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Woodland hosts record-breaking Mass Band Concert with more than 430 middle school student musicians

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Woodland hosted the 41st Annual Mass Band Middle School Band Concert with 436 students from ten schools throughout Southwest Washington playing in a massive band ensemble concert at Woodland High School on Monday, April 17, 2017.

More than 430 middle school student musicians performed in the 41st Annual Mass Band Concert at Woodland High School
More than 430 middle school student musicians performed in the 41st Annual Mass Band Concert at Woodland High School

Preparations for the annual concert started at the beginning of the school year with the band directors of the different middle schools deciding on four pieces to perform. After music selection, the schools used the following months to practice as individual bands before gathering at Woodland High School on the day of the event to rehearse and perform as one large ensemble band.

The ten schools' band directors (pictured here) select pieces at the beginning of each year to practice for the months leading up to the Mass Band Concert.
The ten schools' band directors (pictured here) select pieces at the beginning of each year to practice for the months leading up to the Mass Band Concert. 

The students convened at Woodland High School at 1 p.m. and rehearsed for two and a half hours to prepare for the concert. "Assembling and seating that many students was the biggest challenge," said Bryana Steck, Band Director for Woodland Public Schools. "Once everyone got settled, the practices went very well and we were ready to perform for an audience."

Earlier in the day, ten custodians from the Woodland's schools and other staff members set up chairs for the event. "Ensuring we had enough space was a crazy experience," said Steck. "However, the entire process went smoothly with everyone helping out – teamwork got it done!" Steck served as the organizer for this year's event providing communication between the schools and other organizations involved.

The Creative Chef, Woodland High School's Culinary Arts team, prepared and catered a special dinner for the directors.
The Creative Chef, Woodland High School's Culinary Arts team, prepared and catered a special dinner for the directors. 

Woodland's Tempo organization supports the district's band programs, and arranged the massive task of lining up dinner for the 436 hungry middle-school musicians. Kimberly Miller serves as the teacher and coach for Woodland High School's culinary arts team, The Creative Chef, who provided a catered dinner for the ten directors to offer a moment of relaxation before the performance. The directors' dinner included a breaded Italian chicken breast, low-calorie fettuccine, Caesar's Salad, and white chocolate chip cookies with six high school students professionally preparing and serving the meal.

Bryana Steck served as this year's concert organizer, and directed one of the ensemble pieces along with the Woodland Middle School's Trojan Band's individual performance.
Bryana Steck served as this year's concert organizer, and directed one of the ensemble pieces along with the Woodland Middle School's Trojan Band's individual performance. 

The concert started promptly at 6 p.m. and was free to anyone who wanted to attend. Each middle school played a specially-prepared piece individually followed by an ensemble performance with the entire 436 students performing the selected pieces. The ten schools that participated this year included: Ilwaco Middle School, J.C. Thomas Middle School, Mossy Rock Middle School, Onalaska Middle School, Rainier Middle School, Rochester Middle School, Tenino Middle School, Toledo Middle School, Winlock Middle School, and Woodland Middle School.

The new Woodland High School which just opened in 2015 proved to be a fantastic location for such a large event and led to a record-breaking Mass Band, larger than any in the event's more than four decade-long history. "With our amazing new facilities, I think this was one of the best Mass Bands we have ever had," said Steck. "Our students were among the best behaved in the building that day; they were true ambassadors to their peers and I am so proud of them!"

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