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Poplarville band preparing for concert season

Marching season has come and gone for the Poplarville Hornets’ band, but that doesn’t mean the Band Director Josh Tidwell and the musicians have the rest of the year off.

With the end of marching season comes the beginning of concert season, but when Tidwell looks back on the band’s marching performances he’s happy with how the musicians handled the pressure.

“I chose a really hard show and they did the best with it they possibly could. They worked really hard at that,” Tidwell said.

As they transition from marching season to concert season

the musicians are now learning a set of Christmas carols for a concert the band will put on.

After the Christmas concert Tidwell and his students will begin working on the pieces of music that have been chosen for this year’s stage performance.

As the musicians begin practicing the new pieces Tidwell is having them focus on the quality of sound each musician produces.

“Just learn to pay attention and not just let the sound come out of the instrument, but to learn what the sound is like and what to do to make it sound better,” Tidwell said.

After a difficult concert season last year where the band dealt with a variety of issues, Tidwell said this year’s group has brought the right amount of intensity and focus to improve upon last year’s performances.

Certain pieces of music require certain combinations of instruments and Tidwell said he’s chosen this year’s pieces based on the number of students in the program.

Not only will the band be tested on its performance of the chosen pieces of music, but there is also a sight-reading portion of the competition as well.

During this part of the competition the band will be given a piece of music they’ve never seen before and have 10 minutes to look over the music without playing it.

Then once time is called the band is tasked with performing the given piece of music to perfection.

Tidwell said it’s a challenge the band has to spend time preparing for.

The musicians are put through a sight reading boot camp, which elevates in difficulty after each chapter of the program.

Tidwell said he’s seen a marked improvement in his musicians since the implementation of the boot camp. “It is a skill that can be improved. It is built at a level where if the fundamentals are taught and practiced consistently, sight-reading will improve,” Tidwell said.

Tidwell said there are still some things the band needs to improve upon before the competitions start, but that his program is heading in the right direction.

“This year the light bulb has clicked. The light bulb came on and stayed on,” Tidwell said.