The "March into the Arts" series kicked into high gear this past week.
This past week, the DHS Symphonic Band hosted the West County HS Symphonic Band for a "Band Director Swap" and concert. Each band performed for and received a clinic from the other school's band director. With the Missouri State Large Ensemble Assessment coming up, this opportunity provided both bands with a new perspective and look at their music as well as valuable feedback to help improve each band as they continue on with their semester.
The West County Band students arrived in time to join our 7th Hour Jazz Lab students for some improvisation. It was great to watch our students and West County students sharing their musical ideas together.
That evening the West County and De Soto Symphonic Bands performed for friends and family. We are incredibly thankful to the administrators at West County and De Soto that made this opportunity to make share music and ideas possible!
On Tuesday, Prof. Elke Overton, from Jefferson College, came to work with our DHS Concert and Symphonic Bands to provide feedback on our performance and preparation for State Large Ensemble.
On Thursday, Maestro Gary Gackstatter came in and worked with both our Concert and Symphonic Bands.
The DHS Symphonic Band is currently working on a piece by Percy Grainger and a piece by Mr. Gackstatter entitled "The People" from The Grouse Creek Symphony. The band was complimented on their performance of the piece by Grainger. It was exhilarating watching him work with the Symphonic Band and share with them his passion for music.
"So this is my hope for The Grouse Creek Symphony: that through the music and art, we can deepen our appreciation for what’s in our own backyard. May we never take for granted the beauty of the land and sky, trees, water and people."-Gary Gackstatter
Mr. Gackstatter exudes passion and creativity and is an inspiration to all that he comes into contact with. Mr. Gackstatter's work with our bands was insightful, engaging, inspiring, and it served as a musical revival for the bands and staff.
Fountain City Jazz Fest 2019
This year the De Soto Bands used fundraising money to commission 3x Grammy nominated artist Steve Wiest to write a piece for the DHS Jazz Ensemble and brought him in to perform as our guest artist for the Fountain City Jazz Fest. Our Jazz students have been incredibly excited about this opportunity since the announcement was made in the fall.
While here, Mr. Wiest rehearsed with the the Jazz Ensemble and spoke with the DHS Bands. Students were able to ask questions and interact with Steve before the end of the day Friday. Students gained a lot from their interactions with Mr. Wiest, both musically and personally. Mr. Wiest said, "There are two types of people, the cats that wanna learn and those that know everything."
Friday evening Mr. Boyer and Mr. Wiest traveled to Jazz St. Louis to see the Funky Butt Brass Band. The band invited Mr. Wiest up on stage during one of their pieces.
On Saturday the Jazz Program did an incredible job running the Jazz Fest. Our Jazz Ensemble students put in a 13.5 hour day working and performing at the festival.
The festival included a Masterclass from our guest artist where he dropped some serious knowledge and laughs on our students and the participating bands. After the Wiest Masterclass, Dr. Joseph Jefferson, from SEMO, led an incredible clinic on practice sessions and improving as a musician. The clinic had to be moved to the DHS Band room due to the high number of attendees! His clinic packet can be found here.
After the Dr. Jefferson clinic, the DHS trombones received a private lesson from Mr. Wiest. This was a special opportunity for our trombone student to sit and chat with a professional trombonist and learn from a true master.
The DHS Jazz Ensemble wrapped up the Fountain City Jazz Fest with a concert with Steve Wiest. The band performed an hour long set that included multiple solos from students and Mr. Wiest. We want to thank everyone that attended the evening concert. The money raised will be used to support our DHS Band scholarships.
This has been another incredible week of music at De Soto High School.
For more pictures of the FCJ Fest 2019, click HERE
We hope you can join us at any of our upcoming events!
March 29, 2019 - Solo and Ensemble Recital and Fine Arts Night @5:30pm
March 30, 2019 - Middle School Festival
April 3, 2019 - State Large Ensemble Festival at Jefferson College (Symphonic Band)
April 5, 2019 - Missouri Music Symposium at Jefferson R7 (Concert Band)
April 26, 2019 - Spring Jazz Showcase
April 28, 2019 - Spring Band Concert and Banquet