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Practice proves essential to musical performances

Between the performances, rehearsal key for best sound 

By Charles Louis Dominguez ’14

Photo by Sam Wolff '13 - Brophy and Xavier band students perform in the Black Box Oct. 2.

Across Brophy’s campus, students foster creativity through a hodgepodge of means; everyone is encouraged to.

The campus houses several musical ensembles that put on seemingly countless performances throughout the course of a school year.

Whether it be a seasonal band concert, Open House, the power breakfast or Weapons of Mass Percussion’s “Stomp” concert, the music program regularly displays its talent to members of the community.

As a member of the band program, I can say that the work that goes in to putting together these performances often proves excruciating.

Director of Bands Mrs. Julie Thibodeaux is at the helm of several groups, including Pep Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Jazz Big Band, Jazz Ensemble, Weapons of Mass Percussion, Jazz Combo, Brass Ensemble and the Stomp cast.

She works as a manager in addition to a director, helping to organize every performance churned out by these groups.

The preparations for each performance boil down to two key facets: teamwork and practice.

Everyone within every ensemble, regardless of role, is important to determining the final outcome of a performance, Mrs. Thibodeaux said.

“Almost every person has a different part than everyone else and the sum of all of those parts together is what makes it beautiful,” she said.

Practice is “everything” to a performance, Mrs. Thibodeaux said.

“The ensemble is all about working together…because it only takes one thing – one wrong note, one wrong tempo, one wrong intonation, one wrong entrance for it all to be wrong,” Mrs. Thibodeaux said.

Practice is important to what happens at rehearsals, but rehearsals ultimately determine what ends up happening on stage.

“In the rehearsal the idea is that all of the individuals have learned and practiced their part so that the team can put it all together,” Mrs. Thibodeaux said. “(W)e then put all of the sections together and work on the music; dynamics, attacks and releases, articulations, blend and balance, listening across the ensemble to make sure that every part is there, but that the balance is such that the melody is always heard and supported by all the other parts.”

Despite the difficulties of trusting students to prepare their parts and organizing flyers and rehearsals, Mrs. Thibodeaux said there are rewards for all the preparation.

“The most rewarding part of preparation is that moment when the students get it – that moment when everything just falls into place and it gives you goose bumps,” Mrs. Thibodeaux said. “All of the time that (was) spent in rehearsals then becomes worth it.”

Oftentimes, students have their own personal steps to take in order to be ready for a performance.

“I usually re-tape my trumpet, so it doesn’t fall apart while I’m playing,” said Jared Boyle ’15, a member of Jazz Band, Weapons of Mass Percussion and the Stomp cast. “We come together and combine the different parts so they can gel.”

Carter Santini ’15 has his own method for readying himself mentally.

“When it comes to mental preparation for a gig or something, it starts an hour beforehand where I’m listening to music that’s inspired me and remembering past performances, always striving to be better,” Santini said. “90 percent of music is in the mind.”

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