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PRC band ready for a new challenge

As the temperature drops and winter arrives bands across the state are ending their marching competition season and PRC’s band is in the same boat.

The Blue Brigade took part in multiple competitions during the first few months of the school year.

At the MHSAA evaluation both the drum majors and dance team received superior ratings, while the band as a whole earned a superior rating at the War Eagle Classic in Wayne County to cap off the marching season.

“That’s the first time that’s happened since I’ve been teaching here, which is an awesome thing. Overall I was really pleased with our competitive season,” Band Director Kelcey Becnel said.

The band has a few more events to close out the semester such as taking part in the local Christmas parade and performing in a Christmas concert.

However, the transition has begun for Becnel and her musicians as concert season edges closer.

The concert portion of the year sees the band take part in multiple competitions, which include two parts.

Not only is the band responsible for performing their pieces of music, but also must deal with the sight-reading portion of the competitions.

Sight-reading is a stage in the competition where the musicians are given a foreign piece of music, given ten minutes to look over the piece without playing it, and then tasked with performing the music to the best of their abilities.

In order to prepare for both aspects of the competition Becnel said her band goes back to basics.

“For us it looks like a review of fundamentals. The biggest thing I’ve learned over the course of these four years is that attention to minute details is extremely important,” Becnel said.

Once the second semester begins Becnel has her musicians go back and forth between practicing the show tunes and running through sight-reading practices.

The band’s musicianship will be under increased scrutiny during concert competitions because the judges will be honing in on the little details of the music that can be glossed over during a marching performance. Becnel said the band was just four points away from a superior rating in sight-reading last year, so she’s hoping for a similar performance this year. “My students were struggling with sight-reading and the only way to get better at it is to do it. I’m just hoping to catch them up so we can do just as well (this year),” Becnel said.

Concert season is fast approaching and Becnel knows the preparation necessary for her band to be successful on stage.

Until the concerts start, the focus will be on self-improvement and increasing the musicians’ technical abilities. “When you’re redeveloping a band program there’s a different struggle, but my main goal has been to expand their knowledge of dynamics to play more musically,” Becnel said.