Wind Symphony Set to Perform at the Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference in May

Kennedy Wind Symphony travelled to Chicago this past January to perform at the Field Museum and receive a clinic from Northwesterns Mallory Thompson.
Kennedy Wind Symphony travelled to Chicago this past January to perform at the Field Museum and receive a clinic from Northwestern’s Mallory Thompson.
Lesley Fleer

Kennedy’s Wind Symphony was selected as a clinic performance band at the 97th Annual Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference (IBA). They will perform at this conference on May 9, 2024.

“It has been six years since we were selected for a clinic performance. We’re really proud of what the students have accomplished,” Kennedy Band Co-Director Lesley Fleer said.

IBA is a workshop convention where high school band directors come together to learn more about conducting. At the event, several Honor Ensembles from each class get the opportunity to perform pieces.

“We go to classes about what being a band director is,” Fleer said. “There are vendors that you can ask for new uniforms and you get to see performances from bands across the state.”

In addition to these performances, there are clinics with bands that serve as workshops for young band directors. This gives them the opportunity to gain experience conducting a great ensemble.

“We were chosen for a clinic performance this year. At the conference we will have 4 young band directors work with our wind symphony,” Kennedy Band Co-Director Stephanie Williamson said. “It’s a great opportunity for the students and the directors.”

At the beginning of the school year, Kennedy Wind Symphony started preparations for their submission to perform at IBA. They had to submit a 12 minute recording of them performing musical pieces.

“It’s a blind audition and the selection process is very difficult. Every part of your recording needs to be perfect. Many times, schools aren’t admitted into the program just because the first 30 seconds of their recording weren’t perfect,” Williamson said. “The level of intensity and scrutiny is pretty intense.”

Wind Symphony will be performing the Lord of the Rings Symphony, a composition written in the 80s based on the book series.

“You have themes for each character. The music is strictly based on the books and was written for the films,” Williamson said. “[For the recording] we did the Golem movement and the Hobbit movement.”

The clinic performance will include a world premiere of a piece the band commissioned for, composed by Carl Holmquist whose piece “New Orleans Symphony” Kennedy band played last year.

“We did one of his pieces last year and Zoom called him into a rehearsal. The kids loved that experience and loved playing his music,” Fleer said. “So, we commissioned him to write us a piece for us.”

The name of the piece is “Dreams of Fields.” It has subtle baseball references and features a lot of Kennedy’s All Staters.

“It’s really exciting because it’s never been heard before. The Wind Symphony’s name is going to be imprinted on this piece of music which is really neat,” Fleer said.

The IBA Conference runs from May 8 to May 10. The Wind Symphony will perform on May 9 at around 2 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel.

“They won’t understand the importance of this accomplishment and what it means to them until they’re in the moment,” Williamson said. “They’re definitely excited to do something extra and they’re happy they were selected.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to Kennedy Torch
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Kennedy High School - IA. Your contribution will go towards the purchase of a new lens for our photographers.

More to Discover
Donate to Kennedy Torch
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Kennedy Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *