February 07, 2008

SIUC to host Heartland Honor Band Festival

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — High school students snag the limelight at the Heartland Honor Band Festival this Saturday, Feb. 9, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The free concert begins at 3 p.m. at Shryock Auditorium.

Christopher Morehouse, bands coordinator and director of the Carnegie Hall-bound SIUC Wind Ensemble, said there were more than 250 nominations from 26 area high schools to fill the 150 available spots in the two honors bands performing during the festival. The White Band is a freshmen and sophomore band, and the Maroon Band is juniors and seniors, he explained.

High school band directors nominate students for the Heartland Honor Band Festival. Students participate in master classes and workshops – and audition for seats in the performing band. Morehouse selects music based on the available nominations. Then he sends the music to the high schools for their representatives to learn. When they arrive at SIUC for the festival weekend, they should have familiarized themselves with the music. However, festival weekend is the first time they play it in a group.

"We try to make it a really good experience," Morehouse said. "They know the music – they just haven't played it in an ensemble. This is an especially good experience for students from smaller schools where the bands may not have full instrumentation. The festival is designed partly so students from these smaller schools can have the experience of playing in a large ensemble."

The School of Music also uses the festival as a recruiting tool. Students work closely with music faculty during the festival and have a chance to explore the campus a little bit.

"We hope it will entice them to want to come to school here and to keep playing music," Morehouse said.

The Saturday concert includes a guest performance by the SIUC Wind Ensemble. Morehouse promised a "slow piece" and an upbeat collection of Yiddish dances – an "audience-friendly mix," he said.

Eric Romback-Kendall from the University of New Mexico is the guest conductor for the Maroon Band. While he is here, he will also work with the SIUC Symphonic Band and the SIUC Wind Ensemble. The guest conductor for the White Band is John Bridges, a retired professor who continues to work with students as adjunct faculty at Malone College in Canton, Ohio.

Participating schools and their band directors are:


Brussels High School, Janice Eddleman

Carbondale Community High School, Gregory Townsend

Carterville High School, Todd Norrington

Christopher High School, Kendal Bridges

Columbia High School, Craig Ryterski

Cumberland High School, Kali Strong

Effingham High School, Brad Wallace

Frankfort Community High School, Mark Wayer

Goreville Community Unit District, Barbara Smith

Herrin High School, J. T. Lewis

Johnston City High School, Nicole Hodges

Marion High School, Chuck Williamson, director; Todd Graham, assistant director

Mattoon High School, Todd Black

Mount Vernon Township High School, Frank Winchester

Murphysboro High School, Michael Moreland

Norris City–Omaha–Enfield High School, Charla Lewis

Oblong High School, Ken Strieby

Pinckneyville Community High School, Stephen Cannedy

Pope County High School. Krista Clayton

Sandoval High School, William Reynolds

South Central High School, Elizabeth Warren

Trico High School, Keith Shasteen

Wayne City High School, LeAnn Johnson

Wesclin High School, Rodney Washburn

Windsor Junior-Senior High School, Jennifer Keefe


Graves County High School, Laura Hill


Thomas W. Kelly High School, Keith Kyle