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First-ever WHS Band Bash is Monday

WORTHINGTON -- From a fifth-grade twist on an iconic Sinatra tune to the "Fanfare & Flourishes" that will honor this year's graduates, those looking to sample the District 518 band program need look no farther than the first-ever Band Bash.

The event is slated to begin at 7 p.m. Monday in the Worthington High School gymnasium; the concert is free and open to the public.

The WHS Trojan Band kicks off the show with "Phantom of the Opera," featuring the band's new "PHANTOM!" 2010 parade show music, followed by "Prophesy," featuring senior trumpet soloists Aaron Grafing and Wesley Berger. The band's final piece, James Curnow's "Fanfare & Flourishes," is dedicated to the Class of 2010.

"Our mission on Monday night is to highlight our seniors; they're such an important part of our program," said director Jon Loy. The roughly 100-member high school band includes 20 seniors, some of whom will be honored during the program's senior band awards presentation. The National Marching Award, Louis Armstrong Jazz Award and John Philip Sousa Award will be given to deserving senior musicians; Honor Band Festival awards will also be announced.

Next up is the 44-member sixth-grade band playing "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Twist and Shout" under the direction of Mike Andersen.

About 80 students in the seventh- and eighth-grade band will follow with "Yellow Submarine," "The Beatles Forever" and "Thriller."

"It's a Beatles theme for us," Andersen said. "We decided to go back through the themes and it was between Motown and The Beatles, and the kids said they wanted The Beatles."

Last to perform are the 63 students in the Prairie Elementary Fifth-Grade Band. They begin with the First Classic Suite that incorporates three pieces and features Aliya Abdulrahman, Abby Bern, Haley Carstensen, Megan Henderson, Alyssa Landwehr, Madison Neuberger and Camila Wede on the flutes. Students will also play "Furioso," "When the Band Goes Marching In" and "Theme From New York," sung by Frank Sinatra and arranged by Mike Story.

"We have a special guest conductor on that piece, (middle school principal) Mr. Luke," explained director Jeanette Jenson. "We're going to sing 'We're going to be a part of it: middle school, middle school. If we can make it there, we can make it anywhere.'"

Nearly 300 band students will perform in all, and the concert will be followed by an "after party," during which the public may listen to the middle school and high school jazz bands in the WHS cafeteria.

"From a parental viewpoint, if you're the parent of a fifth-grader, you can see what's coming up at the middle school. ... And if you're the parent of a high-schooler, you can reflect on all of the years in band," Loy said. "I think it'll be an emotional concert from that viewpoint. There are not a lot of activities where people can kind of see the whole thing all together."