By Jocelyn Turner
Amherst Daily News
AMHERST – With a tooting flute here and a banging bass drum there, the Amherst Regional High School senior concert band played their way to the top, receiving first place and a gold medal at the music festival in Halifax on Thursday.
“It was a lot of fun. I always enjoy it but the wait is definitely the worst part, getting ready and having to wait for the clinics to be over,” said Grade 12 student David Manuele. “Really, competing is the best part of band, especially after preparing for months and months. It’s definitely worth it.”
Manuele said winning gold in the competition meant a lot to him and the other Grade 12 students who also competed in the festival.
“It’s a great feeling especially after last year only getting silver,” he said. “Being in grade 12 and finishing on a gold is the best feeling.”
Music teacher Stephanie Mizuik could not be more proud of her students. She said the band members not only participated in the competitions, but her grade 12 students stayed for the weekend and took part in some workshops.
“There was about 50 bands that take part in the festival and they achieved a gold standard along with E.B. Chandler,” she said. “After they performed, they watched other bands perform and they took part in clinics.”
She added that each student with an instrument would have one-on-one classes with a professional to teach the students different techniques and skills they could use. They divided up into groups based on their instruments and spent an hour with each professional.
Not only did the students get the chance to play their hearts out, but they also had the chance to enjoy some of the sights and sounds of the Halifax area.
“The Grade 12’s continued and took part in festival concerts in the evening and the festival dance,” said Mizuik. “They had the chance to see Cirque du Soleil and were able to see that magic but also the musicians that worked behind the scenes.”
The students also went to Grafton Street dinner theatre to take part in more musical events and different cultures.
“It was a great bonding experience and a great time for them to spend together as a band,” said Mizuik.