Band students show talent in SEIBA band concert

Auditioned members of the Southeast Iowa Band Association’s honor bands practiced and performed at the Voxman Music Building in Iowa City on Jan. 21.

Underneath the 3D-printed cutout ceilings of the concert hall inside the new Voxman Music Building on Jan. 21, almost 300 junior high and high school students from across Southeast Iowa came together in four honor bands. The bands practiced all day and performed that evening. Almost 300 musicians from across the region participated, 20 being students at West.

“[20 students in SEIBA] is right about typical. I think this year, we have a few more in jazz band than we’ve had before, but we usually have right around 20 or so students that make it,” said West High band director Rob Medd. The jazz band is a more selective group than the concert band, with only 19 students total, with 7 students being from West.

Dominic Weston ‘18, a tenor saxophone player in the jazz band, said he has really enjoyed his SEIBA experience this year.

“It’s been really fun. Especially in the jazz band, everything is just really laid back and everyone is really chill. It was really cool I got the chance to work with a tenor player that goes to the University on some of the pieces I’m soloing on,” he said. “[It’s been] a really fun and cool experience that’ll just help me with soloing in the future.”

The audition process for SEIBA chairs is competitive, with some instruments only having a few chairs open.

“It’s a pretty rigorous audition. In fact, for concert band, it’s the same audition as all-state. They have to memorize all 12 scales, they have to play an excerpt from a solo for a minute, they play the all-state etudes and then their chromatic scale,” Medd said. “The jazz band students have to sight read. They have to play their chromatic scales in the range of their instrument and then they have to also improvise.”

In the past, the final concert for the bands has been at West High, but it was moved to downtown Iowa City’s Voxman Building because of its new facilities and extra space for so many participating students.

Overall, the concert was a success and a huge learning experience for the band members.

“It’s amazing that in school band, you practice with the whole ensemble for weeks, but this band only had 6 or so hours,” said Rachel Ding ‘19, member of the concert band. “[After so much work], the concert was great.”