WHS Hosts Area Band

WHS Hosts Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula Area Band
MMS Students who participated in the area band performanceOn Saturday, March 25, 2023, Westmoreland High School hosted a concert featuring the local area’s top-ranked middle school and high school band members. Samuel Heiger, WHS band director and audition host, Bruce Passaretti, Montross Middle School band director worked exceeding hard with coordinating the massive undertaking of gathering 160 students (86 middle school students and 74 high school) from 22 regional schools in the Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula for the occasion.

The WHS Theater was filled to capacity with smiling musicians and family members who eagerly awaited the two bands. The middle school band was directed by Beth Stone, the band director at Grafton Middle School. Mrs. Stone is a member of the Virginia Music Educators Association, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, and the Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity. She is an active guest conductor of middle school honor bands throughout the state of Virginia.

Amy Birdsong, conductor of the Senior Honor’s Band, is a professor in the School of Music at James Madison University. She is currently in the process of completing her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at JMU. She began her career in Henrico County at Varina High School. She then started a band program at Hanover High School. She is also the director of the Richmond Symphony Youth Concert Orchestra, performing semi-annually at the Carpenter Theater at CenterStage. In 2022, Mrs. Birdsong was selected as JMU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts Outstanding Junior Faculty recipient.

Prior to the final concert, students were selected for the event through an arduous audition process held on February 1 2023. Out of the selected 74 high school band students, 10 were from Westmoreland High School. Eighteen Montross Middle band students performed with the selected 86 members of the middle school regional band. The students met on Friday, March 24 for six hour of practice and they had another rehearsal in the morning of the performance.

Selected Westmoreland students included (Middle School Band) Flutes: Joshua Morgan; Clarinet: Erica McKenney, Kayla Brown, Trinity Simons, Zaylie Conklin, Ke’Niyah Tiggle; Bass Clarinet: Kimora Shelton; Alto Saxophone: Daniel Cisneros, Levi Walker; Tenor Saxophone: Autumn Gibson; Baritone Saxophone: Cohan Moody; Trumpet: Cameron Woodson, Diego Diaz, Desiree Hayden; Trombone: Kelan Wheeler, Teagan Clarke, Antonio Medina; and Mallets: Ian Gueorguiev; and Dylan Bock.

Senior High Band participants included Flutes: Samantha Gibson; Clarinet: Kristen Gibson, Kayla Vasquez, Isabell Chesley; Alto Saxophone: Suzanna Hernandez; Baritone Saxophone: Joseph Palmer, V; Trumpet: Margie Vega; Trombone: Aven Clarke; Percussion: Autumn Dove; and Mallets: Bryan Lopez-Mendoza.

Congratulations to these outstanding music students and their exemplary band directors, WHS’s Samuel Heiger and MMS’s Bruce Passaretti.