School bands, choirs entertain at fair
Fairgoers were treated to an evening of entertainment Thursday, Aug. 30, thanks to the first-ever Carroll County Music Spectacular.
The Eureka Springs Highlander Band, the Green Forest Chamber Choir, the Green Forest Tiger Marching Band and the Berryville Marching Band all participated in the event, opening the music spectacular with a combined performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Jamie Hussey, station manager for KTHS, served as the announcer, welcoming each group to the arena of the Carroll County Fairgrounds.
“We’re glad to have all the bands from Carroll County here tonight, including Berryville, Eureka Springs, Green Forest and the Green Forest choir,” Hussey said. “I’m privileged and honored to be here to introduce the great musical ensembles.”
The Eureka Springs Highlander Band, under the direction
of Barry Milner, took the makeshift stage first, performing the alma mater and fight song for their school district. Hussey said people can enjoy the Highlander Band throughout the basketball season at home games in Eureka Springs.
The Green Forest Chamber Choir, under the direction of Emilia Duarte-Black, represented vocal music in Carroll County. Hussey said the choir is composed of students in grades 9-12. The students started working on songs for the Carroll County Fair the first day of school, he said, and learned five songs in just over two weeks of school.
The choir opened with a treble ensemble feature of “Bring Me Little Water, Silvy” and then performed “Take Me Home” by Pentatonix, “That Lonesome Road” by James Taylor and “Sixteen Tons” by Merle Travis. The choir closed its portion of the program with a male ensemble singing “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight.”
The Green Forest Tiger Marching Band, under the direction of Sarah and Jon Taylor, entered the arena next. Hussey said the high school band is made up of students in grades 9-12 and has more than 70 members this year. He said the students have been working since July 15 on their music and marching techniques.
Under the field direction of drum majors Toño Mendez and Brisa Fernandezdelara, the band presented selections from its pep band music and this year’s marching show “Extraterrestrial.”
The band kicked things off with the Latin burner “Fireball” made famous by Pitbull. The drumline then showed off their skills with “Apollo,” rocking the arena with rhythms. The band followed it up with “Rock and Roll, Part 2,” also known as the “Hey Song,” which included audience participation. The band invited the audience to sing along with them, and the color guard showed audience members what to do so they could follow along.
The band took another drum break with a percussion performance of “Crank U Up.”
The Green Forest band concluded by presenting a snippet of this year’s marching show “Extraterrestrial,” which featured trumpet soloist Angel Lemus and percussionist Henry Holtkamp playing a solo on the theremin.
“The theremin is the instrument that plays the solo at the beginning of the original Star Trek show,” said Sarah Taylor. “This year’s show is also going to include some classical themes, such as ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ and ‘Mars, the Bringer of War.’ This show has the feel of a cheesy space B-movie.”
The music spectacular concluded with a performance by the Berryville Marching Band, under the direction of Brad Nelsen and Donna Vickers. Hussey said the band has 84 members and will perform a total of 23 times this school year.
Under the field direction of Bailey Doss and Madison Malotte, the band played a throwback from last year’s marching show featuring a Jimi Hendrix tune and previewed this year’s show “Summertime” with a performance of “Walking On Sunshine.”
“This year’s show is all about creating a beach party atmosphere and having a blast on summer vacation … in November,” Nelsen said, laughing. “The opener is ‘Walking on Sunshine.’ The middle tune is ‘Summer Nights’ from Grease, and there are quite a few featured soloists. The closer is ‘Wipeout’ by the Surfaris.”
Hussey said the Berryville Marching Band will be defending its grand championship at the Waldron High School band competition on Oct. 13 and will compete in regionals and state on Oct. 16 and Oct. 29, respectively. He said the band would like to invite everyone to the brand-new Bobcat Stadium on Friday, Sept. 7, for the football game against the Huntsville Eagles.
“I want to take this moment to express a big ‘thank you’ to these kids out there,” Hussey said. “The Carroll County Fair Board would dearly like to say ‘thank you’ and appreciates you all coming out tonight and performing. These kids did a great job. Thank you, Eureka Springs Highlander Band, Green Forest Chamber Choir, Berryville Marching Band and Green Forest Tiger Band!”
Nelsen and Sarah Taylor said the first Carroll County Music Spectacular was an exciting opportunity for the local bands and choirs.
“I think it’s a little bit of craziness and everything upfront, but it’s exciting,” Sarah Taylor said. “It’s exciting for all the kids. We compete against each other all the time, and it’s almost always one of us right after the other.”
“We never get to see each other perform,” Nelsen said.
“This is a nice opportunity for our kids to see each other performing,” Sarah Taylor said.
Nelsen said there are a lot of friends across the different bands.
“When I pitched this idea to my kids about performing with Green Forest and Eureka Springs, they were over the moon,” he said. “They were like ‘This is the coolest thing ever.’ They were most nervous about the lack of rehearsal. We did a dry run of that thing and played it once. We had fun jamming.”