The Davis High School Symphonic Band, under direction of John Yoon, and the DHS Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Richard Marsden, participated in the National Adjudicators Invitational Festival (Midwest division) in St. Louis, Mo., last week.
Both groups received first-place trophies and "superior" ratings in their respective Division VI groups (symphonic band and orchestras), and the band won the festival's most prestigious award, the Classic Champion trophy, presented to the group amassing the highest number of points in the judging.The festival, which also included high school groups from Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma and Missouri, was held in the 3,500-seat Kiel Opera House.
During the four-day visit to St. Louis, the 169 Utahns (138 students and 31 chaperones/instructors) visited several of the city's landmarks and exhibitions.
For many, the highlight of the trip was attending a performance of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, directed by Leonard Slatkin and featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma as guest artist, in elegant Powell Symphony Hall.
Davis High School was also mentioned in the symphony's program notes on "The Conductors' Circle" page, where groups of 45 or more are recognized.
The National Adjudicators Invitational Festival, which is primarily in the East, South and Midwest, marks a revival of what was once a popular nationwide competition back in the 1920s and 1940s. Originally the festivals were sponsored by a group of band instrument manufacturers in order to promote high school music programs, but with the advent of World War II the festivals were disbanded, as it were, and following the war there was no effort to reactivate them.
The festival program was revived by Dixie Classic Invitational Tours and Festivals, based in Richmond, Va.
Joseph G. Simpkins Jr., president of the festival program, hopes that more regional divisions can be added next year, so that eventually the festivals will once again be nationwide in nature.
Five prominent adjudicators critiqued the performances in St. Louis. They judged the groups on tone, intonation, technique, interpretation, musical effect, stage presence, choice of music and instrumentation.
While there is currently a strong emphasis on bands (11 bands and wind ensembles performed in St. Louis, and only two orchestras), Simpkins also hopes that enough interest will be generated in future festivals to give more orchestras a chance to participate, too.
For their performance, the Davis High orchestra played Handel's "Prelude and Fugue" (transcribed by Hans Kindler); Beethoven's overture to "Creatures of Prometheus," and Dvorak's "Slavonic Dance, Op. 46, No. 8."
These, along with Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" and Von Suppe's overture to "Poet and Peasant," will be performed during the orchestra's annual spring concert on Monday at 8 p.m. in the John M. Browning Center for the Performing Arts on the Weber State College campus in Ogden. The performance is free.
Selections by the band during its St. Louis performance were the "Colonel Bogey" march from "The Bridge on the River Kwai," by Alford/Fennell; Persichetti's "Psalm for Band" and Reed's "Armenian Dances" (Part 1).
Yoon has 79 students in his band. Of those, 22 wind players and percussionists perform with both the band and the orchestra.