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BFHS finale concert leaves audience feeling good

by ROSE SHABABY
Staff Writer | May 13, 2021 1:00 AM

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Bonners Ferry High School jazz band (Photo by Rose Shababy)

The Bonners Ferry High School finale concert last Tuesday night was both entertaining and poignant. Teacher and conductor Jessica Hanna led the concert and jazz bands in pieces chosen by exiting seniors and used the evening to honor outstanding band members as well.

First on the lineup was the concert band playing pieces from television and movies. They tackled “How To Train Your Dragon” followed by a selection of pieces from “The Hobbit” and “The Mandalorian.”

They finished with “Dinosaurs,” a rousing, rhythmic piece filled with a number of sound effects. The students employed water glasses, singing bowl and a stomping stick as well stomping their own feet, clapping and deep chanting. The number built to a crescendo filled with heavy percussion. Hanna highlighted guest percussionist Aiden Cuthbertson and soloist Erin Dineen, as well as local composer Daniel Bukvich, who wrote the piece.

In between numbers, Hanna handed out awards created by band members as well as more traditional acknowledgements. Greta Callison was honored as the concert band librarian as well as receiving the “I Am Not a Morning Person” award. Some of the other band-created awards were Ava Martin for the “Sassiest” award, Elijah Cooper for the “Loch Ness” award and Troy Randall for the “Most Likely to be Kidnapped by the Football Team” award.

Hanna awarded Jacob Bremer the “Outstanding Bandsman” award and William Hollabaugh the “Most Improved” award.

The jazz band opened with “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” punctuated by student Jenny Owens on cowbell. She “explored the space” throughout the number, reminiscent of the famous Saturday Night Live sketch, leaving the audience with a fever and the need for more cowbell.

Hanna explained that their next two numbers “Take Five” and “Spain” were complex pieces, the first featuring five beats in every measure and the latter being a piece typically taken on at the college level. “Take Five” featured solos by Xavier Naranjo on vibes, Zap Andrejczak on tenor sax and Lucas Schultz on trombone. Kerrie Whitener soloed on flute in “Spain,” accented by a number of clapping beats.

They finished the evening with the haunting “Feeling Good,” with Lilly Blackmore joining in as vocalist. Blackmore’s voice filled the auditorium with sweet, clear tones accentuated by deep drum beats. The band crept up behind her creating a swelling tension until the very end.

Some of the band-created awards for jazz band members were Jenny Owens for the obvious “Cowbell” award, Erin Dineen for the “Chameleon” award and Porter Ogden for the “Loquaciousness” award.

Hanna also awarded Jenny Owens with the “Heart of the Band” award for exemplifying hard work, fun and helpfulness, and band president Regina Claphan with the “Outstanding Bandswoman” award. She ended the evening with gifts for all the exiting seniors.

She also shared that the entire band recently attended regional competitions at Silverwood theme park where they took 1st in their division and 1st overall. Hanna was particularly proud that they also received the “Esprit de Corps” award which is given to students who are respectful, helpful and kind throughout the day. These kids have “good hearts and are kind and nice to each other.” Hanna added that she was proud to teach a group of such “hard workers.”

Hanna also directs the middle school band who will be performing their finale concert May 18, 7 p.m. at the Becker Auditorium.