Monday, June 24, 2024
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William Kelley School Spring Concert

After an exception­ally warm Mother’s Day on May 12, May 13 felt a bit chilli­er with temperatures resuming a 50 to 60 degree range. But the energetic pieces per­formed by the William Kelley School’s Mu­sic Department were anything but chilly. The evening’s theme was “Elemental”, and many musical piec­es represented either earth, fire, air, or wa­ter.

Attendees came into the auditorium en­trance, and were greeted by a colorful art show, with piec­es by WKS students from first grade to seniors. The elemen­tary grades’ contribu­tion to the art show consisted of group projects and murals, where the middle and high schoolers had individual paintings, drawings, pottery, and other three-dimen­sional art. A few high school seniors had art “spotlights” featuring a portfolio of their art, both two and three-di­mensional.

The concert portion of the evening began at 7:00 p.m. with the Junior High Choir singing “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. Directed by Heidi Achartz, the Junior High Choir consists of 7th and 8th graders. The choir then sang “I Love the Mountains”, followed by the upbeat “Rock­in’ Robin”.

After the Junior High Choir finished, the 6th Grade Band took their places, di­rected by Kerri Bilben and Heidi Achartz. The 6th Grade Band began with the explo­sive piece “Volcanic Fire (Firestorm of the Volcano)”, and then transitioned to the el­ement of water with “Oceanic Forces”. Air was the third element explored with “Riders on the Storm”, a clas­sic rock piece arranged for the band by Michael Story. The element of fire was then returned to with the final piece, “Latin Fire”. Kerri Bilben emphasized how much the band has improved since band practice has been placed on students’ schedules every day – practice goes a long way.

The Junior High Band performed next, beginning with “Wind Dances”, and fol­lowed by “Flashfire”, a high-speed piece with an emphasis on the percussion sec­tion. “Smoke on the Water”, arranged from a rock song to a band piece by Paul Murtha, was last. Earlier on the 13th, Kerri Bilben had come to band practice wearing a new pair of neon tennis shoes she had just purchased – and an idea began to form. Bilben suggest­ed to the band that they all wear crazy shoes to the performance, and the 7th and 8th graders loved the idea. As they played that evening, their brightly col­ored Crocs, sneakers, and crazy socks were clearly visible below their standard black pants.

The evening then moved to the high school performers, beginning with the William Kelley High School Choir – con­sisting of only five members this semes­ter, and directed by Heidi Achartz. Their first piece was “Kye Kye Kule”, a West African folk song. Seniors Madeline Swanson and Tanja Thomas had solos in this piece, complete with percussion ac­companiment. Heidi Achartz explained that “Kye Kye Kule” is a children’s song, comparable to “Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes”. The choir then sang “Splish Splash”, a 1958 novelty rock song, followed by “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Facto­ry. “Turn the World Around”, a piece used on The Muppet Show and inspired by Afri­can mythology, was the WKHS choir’s last piece.

William Kelley High School Band of Mari­ners, directed by Ker­ri Bilben, was the last group of the evening. The band consisted of all traditional band instruments and one cello, played by Marley Schumacher. They began with the epic sounding “Az­tec Fire”, followed by the intense “The Dark Waters” by Matt Conaway, inspired by the mythological Riv­er Styx. James Bond then had a brief ex­perience in the form of the piece “Skyfall”, from the 007 movie of the same name.

Before the last band piece, awards were presented to the se­niors in the band and choir. Seniors Mad­eleine Swanson and Tanja Thomas re­ceived awards for choir and seniors Lily Johansen, Katie Car­penter, Marley Schum­acher, Cash Williams, Jamin Whitehead, and Brooke Velcheff received awards for band. Brooke Velcheff also received the John Philip Sousa Award, a prestigious hon­or for band students. The John Philip Sousa Award is one granted by a high school band director to one of their students. It is restricted to one per school per year, and recognizes superior musicianship, dependability, loyal­ty, and cooperation, according to https://sousamusic.com/ .

The evening ended with the song “Sep­tember” by Earth Wind, and Fire performed by the WKHS Band of Mar­iners. Audience mem­bers joined in by clap­ping the rhythm during the chorus as they rec­ognized the popular song from 1978.

Thanks go to Jay Belcastro, ISD 381 Superintendent; Dan Johnson, WKS Prin­cipal; Jaime Hipple and Michelle Ketola, Administrative As­sistants; Amy Nel­son, tech support; Pipa Beckstrand, live stream; Marley Schumacher, sound; and Kelly Ollila, Ath­letic Director, for sup­porting the 2024 Wil­liam Kelley Spring Band & Choir Concert and Art Show. The music department can be heard again on May 31 at the WKHS grad­uation, and on August 25 at the Minnesota State Fair Parade.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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