WBSD middle school, high school bands join forces

By: Eric Czarnik | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 11, 2012

WEST BLOOMFIELD — A concerted effort to bring together bands in the West Bloomfield School District will occur just in time for the holidays.

An estimated 200-250 students will bring their instruments to play in the West Bloomfield Bands Winter Concert at West Bloomfield High School.

During the concert, younger students will play within the Orchard Lake Middle School and Abbott Middle School concert and symphony bands. Among the older students, the West Bloomfield High School concert and symphony bands plus the symphonic winds will be represented.

Chad Mielens, co-director of the WBSD’s band program, praised the concert as an avenue for unity and learning.

“It’s kind of a way to bring the district together,” he said. “It’s also a recruiting tool to get middle school (students) interested in continuing music. They get a chance to hear the high school bands ... play engaging music.”

Mielens said the winter concert contains some pieces like “Undertow” by composer John Mackey. But he also called the repertoire “kind of all over the map” and confirmed that certain songs will reflect a winter theme.

“We do intend to close with ‘Sleigh Ride,’” he said. “We plan to perform the ‘Ukrainian Bell Carol.’”

Preparation has been extensive for the concert, Mielens said. He explained that the middle school bands do one dress rehearsal together and also practice during their classes. The high school bands have also been rehearsing for weeks in class, he said.

In commenting on the overall activity of the WBSD’s band program, Mielens believes that interest has been increasing recently.

“In the course of the last year, the numbers in all three schools have gone up,” he said. “We’re hoping to continue that trend of increasing enrollment in the band program.” 

Suzanne Crawford, a West Bloomfield Band Booster parent, said the collaborative concert would give students a chance to demonstrate what they learn in class.

“Band Boosters, along with the band directors and students, organize these events because there is nothing like performing in front of an audience that drives student musicians to excel,” she said.

The West Bloomfield Bands Winter Concert is at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at West Bloomfield High School, 4925 Orchard Lake Road. General admission is free. The event will also sell raffle tickets for $5 and baked goods for $1 each. All proceeds will benefit the WB Band Boosters general fund. Learn more at (248) 865-6720.