Right as I was just starting to get used to my second semester schedule, a flurry of very important distractions began. There is an opera, The Tender Land, being performed on campus next weekend, the spring sports season has begun, and the KMEA convention is going on right now in Wichita.
KMEA, the Kansas Music Educators Association, is an organization that I don’t really know much about except for the fact that it’s on organization of music teachers and they host a convention every year. The convention has all sorts of exhibits and talks for members to attend, but the most public parts of the convention are the honor groups and the performances by Kansas groups. The honor groups are select groups of high school and middle school orchestra, choir, wind ensemble and jazz band students who spend the day with a clinician and then perform what they learned. There are also performances throughout the day from school groups across Kansas.
This year, the Wind Ensemble was one of those groups. It was the first time the Bethel Wind Ensemble had been chosen to perform at KMEA so the pressure was not insignificant. We played four pieces that we had been practicing since October, with a two month break for Christmas and interterm. The music was quite difficult so that time was needed and appreciated.
I had never performed on stage at Century II before. That is quite an experience. We arrived and had time to get our stuff to the dressing rooms before going out on stage to warm up. There’s all sorts of hallways behind the stage that I never knew existed. The stage itself is also quite impressive. When we were warming up the sound would just bounce back at us for what seemed like forever.
The crowd seemed to like our performance and I thought we did pretty well. The other two college wind ensembles performing this year were KU and WSU, so our small college band had a lot to live up to.