Northwestern High School band students paved a virtual path to showcase their most recent work. The school’s first online concert, “From Our Home to Yours” was uploaded to YouTube at 7:30 p.m. April 27.
The 14-minute event opened traditionally with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” accompanied by video of the flag waving by the NHS school entrance. Listeners were invited to sing along with “Beauty and the Beast,” watch snippets of “Back to the Future” during the theme song and view a photo collage of stars interspersed with student snapshots during “Stargazer Overture.”
“It was awesome,” said Mike Granlund of South Range. “It’s amazing what they’re able to do.”
About 60 people tuned in live when the concert aired Monday, and it remains available online.
The young musicians listened to the tunes on headsets while recording themselves playing their parts. Each counted off a measure before starting, giving an auditory cue that could be used to sync up the tracks. Senior Justin Orme wove them together and added video to get the finished product. Band Director Michael Hintzman filled in parts that didn’t get submitted, like the suspended cymbals in “Back to the Future.”
It was a way for NHS students to share their talents with the community despite the school's closed doors during the health emergency.
“This is what we do,” Hintzman said. “To a certain degree, it’s like a sports team never having a game.”
Instead of canceling the concert, they brought it online.
Students could choose to participate or not. Between nine and 16 students submitted performances for each piece. Hintzman said having the concert to focus on helped them break up the weeks and move forward with their work.
“It’s like finishing a book or a chapter,” he said. “It’s a nice way to have closure.”
Hintzman allowed the students to pick the songs they would focus on this spring as they learned from home — two Broadway tunes, two movie songs and two patriotic pieces. Seniors chose three; the entire class chose the rest.
The songs aren’t as long or intricate as what they would have learned in the classroom, which allows students to learn one tune a week and helps with digital editing. Both Hintzman and Granlund, a member of the Maple School Board, gave a big shout-out to Orme for his work turning the individual tracks into concert pieces.
Next up is an online pops concert May 15.
“We’ve shown we can do it and be successful,” Hintzman said.
For this second event he hopes to add Northwestern Middle School musicians to the mix. And he traveled to NHS Tuesday to pick up “Pomp and Circumstance,” just in case.