Riley Band Concert Shows Progress, Perseverance

OSWEGO – Charles E. Riley Elementary School band students’ commitment to learning their March concert music outside of the school was proven during their recent community performance.

Jayla Griffin, fourth grader at Riley Elementary, plays the clarinet during the recent school band concert, in celebration of March as Music in Our Schools Month.

The fifth grade band hadn’t practiced together from Jan. 24 to about a week before the March 14 show, due to several instances of inclement weather and mid-winter break, but band director Kris Jorgensen said she could not be prouder of their dedication and perseverance.

“The amount of effort, focus and concentration they put in is incredible,” she said. “Talent is a myth; what you see in front of you is hard work.”

Jorgensen said that sentiment also rang true for the fourth grade beginning band students who went from learning how to put their instruments together, cleaning them, learning five notes, counting and the importance of both individual practice and small group work.

She compared each of those steps to climbing a mountain before the fourth-grade band performed a medley of their progress, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Meow Mix.”

Members of the fifth and sixth grade combined band had gone past the introductory phase and squeaky notes to learning more about playing in small ensembles.

In between “Swansea Town,” “The Broken Marionette” and “Appalachian Folk Dance,” CER’s sixth-grade band students were featured in small-group solos. Jorgensen said that chamber music taught students more about the importance of learning both their part, as well as their partner’s music to offer the best possible performance.

CER’s all-purpose room was packed full of parents, guardians and special guests who offered thunderous applause after each piece.

Several teachers attended the event, as did principal Dr. Linda Doty. Jorgensen said without everyone’s support, including the board of education and Superintendent Dr. Dean Goewey, the Music in Our Schools Month concert and continued support for the arts throughout the district wouldn’t be possible.