Music and Audience Flow Off the Stands at Band’O’Rama
February 7, 2023
In a biannual event, all band players in the Neenah Joint School District (from grades 5-12) crowded together and sequentially played to a massive audience. The combined weight of student musicians, their families, and district staff attending the event filled school parking lots to the absolute maximum; a Satellite reporter was forced to park in the Memorial lot, a 5-minute walk away, because no other space was available.
“The concert was a lot better than I thought it would be, since I’m playing in both of the high school bands,” senior Christian Kriegl, a tuba player, said.
Kriegl also noted the event’s effect on players’ perceptions of themselves and their future. “It’s fun because all the young musicians in 5th and 6th grade can see what they can become, but when you’re in our grade, you can see where we used to be,” he said.
Another tuba player, Henry St Clair (a freshman), had more specific thoughts about the bands’ performances. “The Wind Symphony did a great job with Stars and Stripes. You could tell the dynamics between the lower and higher parts. I think the 8th grade did really well. You could also tell their dynamics, staccato and tenuto. I think it’s great that many people came out to support,” St Clair said.
Not even the fully-extended Ron Einerson Fieldhouse bleachers were sufficient to hold all the visitors; guests overflowed and crowded along the fieldhouse walls, as well as near the entrance and along the sidelines. Following the concert, middle school music teachers mentioned over the loudspeaker that setup/maintenance workers had energetically scavenged the middle and elementary schools to find sufficient chairs for the event.
Freshman Sophia Li had her own opinions on the music.
“I liked the high schoolers more than the rest, but everyone did well. I liked how everyone in high school was on-beat, and they practiced really well. No one was out of place,” she said.
Band’O’Rama is designed to return every two years, alternating with Stringfest, an event identical to this one except that it involves string instruments instead of band. Stringfest last occurred in February 2022, meaning it will also occur next school year – the next Band’O’Rama is therefore slated for early 2025.