The Dodge City Civic Center welcomed 658 band students to perform in front of crowds that swelled to over 3,000 people. Students from Dodge City High School, Dodge City and Comanche Middle Schools played their heart out to the crowd which filled the stands.
All music students from sixth to twelfth grade are invited to the Band-o-Rama event for an unforgettable mass performance.
The event helps students develop their musical talents with each middle school grade performing two songs. Jazz bands are also formed with a mix of middle and high school students. The night comes to an end with a mass performance that features all bands taking the stage for a finale.
Students are able to play in a large environment, with the jazz band director, Jacob Miller, claiming that he tries to make the event more exciting every year. Students dress formally and are able to perform in front of their friends and relatives that have a chance to see how the band students have progressed throughout the year.
Six band directors help to organize the event, which requires hours to set up. Hundreds of students attend every year, with students encouraging each other to continue practicing. Directors claim that the younger students get a chance to see their high school peers and stay encouraged to continue their practice.
Directors note how the season is more stressful for high school students that have a lot of individual pieces and rehearsals, which make it more intense. Miller claims that the directors talked to the high school bands before the event to explain how important the event is to the younger musicians.
Dodge City High School has been trying to find innovative ways to encourage sponsorships at events. Dodge City High’s Jay Gifford, the athletic director at the school, has been using digital scoring tables to secure sponsorships, which range up to $1,000 a year for sponsorships. Funds from the scoring tables go to the school’s sporting and extracurricular activities.
Dodge City welcomed a local band into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame at the end of March. The band encourages students that have dreams of playing together through middle and high school. Birth, as many locals know the band, was formed in 1969 when the group became a band.
Bill Warshaw, Chris Cave, Lewis Mock and Jonathan Jambor form the band, which started in junior high and high school. Warshaw was a freshman in high school when he formed the band with his three friends, who were all in eighth grade.
The group started to become known around Dodge City, filling buildings, raising hundreds of dollars in a night. They continued to play together throughout their high school years. The band members have encouraged local kids to continue with their musical passions throughout the years. In 1994, the band reunited for a high school reunion and has since been invited back in 2014.
The group of four kids-turned-adults have now been asked to perform at Dodge City Days in 2015 and 2016. The band is now being inducted into Kansas Music Hall of Fame.