Music is a wonderful thing, especially in smaller communities. And there’s no better example of community and music than the 2019 fall concert put on by the various schools around Lincoln County. The concert was held at the Neldon C. Mathews Center Oct. 22 from 6:30-8 p.m.
At the beginning of the show, music teacher Jacob Lester addressed the gathered audience as the sixth-grade band filed onto the stage, thanking the community for its support and explaining that many band members were picking up an instrument for the first time. But, he assured the audience, time would polish their abilities.
“I encourage parents to encourage their kids,” he said during the opening moments of the concert, “to continue learning about music and to continue getting better.”
Lester also encouraged the sixth graders and their parents to stick around until the end of the concert. As the night progressed, the bands and choirs became more skilled, and Lester wanted these kids that were new to music to understand where study and practice could lead them.
With that out of the way, the sixth-grade band began its set. Starting with “Half Full or Half Empty,” the band did show the need for improvement that Lester mentioned, but it also showed promise. “Hot Cross Buns” was the next song in the repertoire. By the time “Au Claire de la Lune” came up, the sixth graders had begun to show confidence and a better grasp of performing. The students wrapped up with “Attack of the Gnomes,” with the band using screams and stomps to add to the playfully spooky nature of the music.
Next, Shelby Hurst performed a solo. Her rendition of “Dancing With Your Ghost” was interrupted once by technical difficulties, and Hurst then repeated her performance like a total professional.
The Meadow Valley Middle School (MVMS) band was up next. As with the sixth grade, Lester took a moment to introduce the band and explained that many of these kids have experience playing because of their early introduction to music in the sixth grade, but some of them were new to music. He said that even with just one more year of experience, the difference can be heard, which should be encouraging to any parent of a child in a music program.
The band started with “Crazy Train,” even adding the iconic “aye, aye, aye” part of the opening section. Next, the band played “Centuries,” a song made popular by the band Fallout Boy, before finishing up with the classic band song, “Appalachian Hoedown.”
Following MVMS, there was a very short break before the Lincoln County High School Concert Choir took to the stage. Before the singing began, Lester pointed out that 28 of these students had qualified for honor choir, a significant departure from previous years’ single-digit choir.
The concert choir got into the spirit of Halloween by singing “Ghostbusters.”
Next, Loni Phillips sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
The choir then belted out “Hey, Brother,” followed by another spooky number: “the Monster Mash.” During the iconic speaking sections of the song, different students (sometimes in groups of three) came down and spoke the parts into the mic in their best spooky voices, to the entertainment of the crowd.
As the concert choir left the stage, Jayven Free (cello) and Natalie Whimple (piano) played a powerful rendition of “The Sound of Silence.”
Last but not least, the Lincoln County High School band performed, starting with “The Entertainer.” Following this, the choir performed “The Baby Elephant Walk,” with soloists McGarren Segler and MacKenzie Marshal.
Before the last song was played, Lester thanked the audience for coming and once again encouraged everyone in the community to help support the musical arts.
Finally, the choir performed “The Sound of Music,” which served as a kind of counterpoint to the earlier “Sound of Silence.”
While the music ended there, the songs that people took with them from the concert were numerous and joyful.