By Layla Heninger
Cactus Canyon musicians have their first concert today at 6 p.m. at the Apache Junction High School Performing Arts Center.
Five groups will perform – cadet and symphonic bands, wind and strings ensembles, and choir. Each group will be playing two songs except the cadet band, which will be playing three short songs.
Preparation for the concert, which began in August, involves mastering two to three songs per group, but that isn’t all that goes into it.
“We don’t just spend class time on one song,” music director Aimee Vining said. “We do warm-ups, technique practices, scales, and we learn how to march. We do a lot during class, so with all of that, it does take a few weeks to learn a song well enough to perform it. It also depends on how much the musicians practice individually.”
The Cougar musicians fall into three categories: band, strings, and choir. Those in strings play different instruments than those in band. They play the violin, cello, and viola, while band members play things like trumpet, trombone, and drums. Those in choir, of course, use their voice as their instrument.
“Each group is definitely different,” Ms. Vining said. “They all play completely different types of music, and it’s fun to have variety in my day as I teach them all.”
With all the different instruments and groups, preparing for a concert can be a stressful time for Ms. Vining and the students. In addition to getting all the music ready, students must learn stage ettiquitte, programs must be made, chaperones must be found for supervision after school and during the show, and the stage needs to be set up.
“I do feel a lot of pressure, at every performance I direct,” Ms. Vining said. “It’s a fun job, but it is difficult to get all of the details in order sometimes. I feel pressure because all of my students depend on me to not only organize the performance, but also to do a good job in leading them. Performances are full of pressure, but that’s what makes them fun!”
Now that the day of the concert has arrived though, the musicians are feeling confident that the performance will be successful and that the audience will enjoy the show.
“I feel very confident,” Ms. Vining said. “The Cougar musicians are a talented group of kids, and they are excited to perform for an audience. They know their music well, and I know they will perform extremely well.”