The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Students perform at HIT


November 9, 2018

Submitted photo

The Gogebic Range Honors band performs at the Historic Ironwood Theatre Thursday after a long day of practice.

IRONWOOD - Eighty-one area high school band students gathered for a day full of music at the Historic Ironwood Theatre Tuesday.

Students from six area high school band programs participated in the annual Gogebic Range Honors Band under the direction of Nicholas Enz, assistant professor and director of bands at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.

It was a long day, but a great day, according to Bessemer band director Dan Pitrone.

"They rehearsed from 8 until 3 and then put on a show," he said. "There was some very challenging, standard band repertoire. They did an excellent job."

Among the pieces, the band played music from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story" and a medley of Civil War-era songs.

"'The Blue and the Gray' was a 10-minute piece. There was some pretty intricate stuff," said Pitrone.

Pitrone said the annual honors band is a great opportunity for the students, and credited them for working on their parts on their own before-hand.

He said it's fun to play big works like this with "all the parts are really covered. It's nice with three tubas and two baritone saxophones, it gives you a good low end. In our smaller bands, you have one of these and one of them."

Pitrone said Bessemer had 21 students participating, calling the honor band, "the cream of the crop from the area."

He credited Hurley band director Jesika Cane for coordinating the event each year. "She does a good job. It came off very good."

Enz was until recently director of bands at Michigan Tech and had brought his wind symphony and jazz band to the Ironwood Theatre in years past.

Pitrone said Enz commented on how nice a facility the theater is.

At St. Ambrose, Enz conducts the Symphonic Band and the Jazz Ensemble and teaches courses in music and music education. His major instrument is the saxophone. He is an active guest conductor and clinician with appearances throughout the Midwest. He earned his bachelor's degree at Bethel College in Lindsborg, Kan., master's degree at Central Michigan University and doctorate at Ohio State University.

-Larry Holcombe


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