The schools of Panaca put on a band and choir concert the evening of March 3.
Starting at 6:30, the students demonstrated their talents for family and friends. While a considerable portion of the stage and seating area was occupied by a Swiss mountain range (in preparation for the upcoming “Sound of Music” play that will make its debut in two weeks), there was plenty of seating elsewhere. The Neldon C. Mathews auditorium filled up quickly as members of the community came to take part in this musical experience.
The students were judged in preparation for the upcoming festival season, and three local music lovers were there to help give the choirs a rating ranging from “superior” to “needs improvement.” These ratings are crucial to help the bands and choirs understand if they should attend festivals or continue to hone their craft in preparation for the next opportunity.
The first group on stage were the sixth graders, who had just begun their musical education earlier in the year. Jacob Lester, the director for the music programs from the three schools participating in the evening, urged parents to note the improvement these young men and women have shown since the beginning of the year, and he encouraged them to continue to support the performing arts.
Despite their short time with their instruments, the sixth graders showed focus and poise as they performed “First Decree” by Robert W. Smith. Their next number was “Midnight Mission” by Brian Balmages, which seeped with the same kind of covert tones you’d expect from a Bond film.
Next, Aria Reich performed a beautiful, haunting solo rendition of “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry.
The Meadow Valley Middle School Band then played “The Coldstream Guards,” bringing the entire room to attention. Their next number, “Battle Quest” by Mike Forbes, felt like a piece straight out of a “Star Wars” movie. The band’s final number, “Fanfare to Joy,” which was arranged by Michael Story, left the audience with a great impression of these up-and-coming musicians.
Once the middle school quit the stage, Nani LeBaron and MacKenzie Marshall played “Humoresque.” After a short break, the Lincoln County High School Band filled the stage and began their opening number, “Fire Dancer” by Jared Spears. This somewhat dark and mysterious experience was followed by the airy tones of “Dolce and Dance” by Gary Fagan. Their final number was “March Royale” by Mark Williams.
With that, the band portion of the evening came to a close and the choirs stepped up to perform, preceded by a hopeful solo from Jayven Free called “Ashes of Eden,” a song made famous by the band Breaking Benjamin.
The concert choir started with the inspirational song “Awaken the Music” by Greg Gilpin, followed by “Wild Mountain Thyme,” a Celtic folk song that transports the listener to faraway fields of blooming wildflowers. They wrapped the journey up with “Homeward Bound.”
As the concert choir left the stage, pianist Natalie Whimple lulled the audience with “Solfeggietto” by Carl Phillip Emanuael Bach, which seemed to be as complicated as the composer’s name, though Whipple made it look easy.
The final group for the night was the most energetic, as the show choir hit the stage with “Love is an Open Door,” made popular by the movie “Frozen.” Their final number was the intense and heart-pounding “Eye of the Tiger.”
With that, the concert came to a close.