NYSSA NEWS: High school bands pick up honors, experience on the road

The Nyssa High School Jazz Band and Concert Band, under the direction of Mark Lasnick, traveled to western Oregon in May to participate in two band competitions.

While some of the students had participated in competitions before, many were doing this for the first time. All agreed the competitions were a great experience.

In an interview, band members mentioned Covid’s impact on band activities, including canceled events and online band practices that were challenging. But finally they had trips!

On May 6-8, the Jazz Band, consisting of 18 students, participated in the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival in Gresham, placing third in their division.

A challenge for the band was that some members were unable to participate due to schedule conflicts, so other members had to quickly learn new parts. Mr. Lasnick specifically cited Tyler Young (trumpet) and Keighlee Bunker (alto sax) for stepping up to learn new parts for the performance.

In addition to the band placement, individual honors went to Sarah Esteves for her solo on bass as the outstanding rhythm section of the day, which included 4A and 3A schools.

For the students, highlights included a post-performance clinic with the judges who offered tips to improve their performance in future competitions. While at the festival, the students also attended a concert of jazz performances with Sara Clark’s cover of the Beatles and the BeeGees their favorite. The non-music related highlight included Big Al’s a bowling, arcade, pizza venue. Overall, the students said the trip was really fun.

Nyssa’s Concert Band also traveled to Corvallis for the OSAA Band/Orchestra competition May 11-14. The 21-member band advanced to the state competition based on their score at the district competition.

In Corvallis, they were first up for a 9 a.m. performance. The band placed sixth in the 3A division. Keighlee Bunker (alto sax) and Ixzetl Tapia (tenor sax) were recognized as outstanding soloists.

Band members particularly enjoyed listening to other bands from schools of all sizes around the state with their director adding.

While none of the band members interviewed said they expect to pursue in a career in music, they felt that music will be with them for life.

• Nyssa Library’s hours are changing, starting June 1. The new hours will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, 1-6 p.m.Wednesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and 2-6 p.m. Saturday. Summer reading starts Tuesday, June 7.

Nyssa High School’s Concert Band, directed by Mark Lasnick, performs at the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival in May 2022. (Submitted photo)

To have your Nyssa news in this column, contact Susan Barton at 541-372-5455 or [email protected].

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