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Oologah band earns gold in Chicago

[ 0 ] May 13, 2014 |

The bands will perform at 8 p.m. on Friday night at the OHS auditorium

By CHRIS EDENS, City Editor

The Oologah High School band earned Superior ratings in Chicago last weekend at the Heritage Festival. The concert and jazz bands earned Superior or Gold ratings and the band won the Spirit of Chicago Award.

“I am proud to say that the OHS band represented our school, town and state very well,” Oologah Band Director Jon Matthews said.

Concert band members performed their contest piece Pantheon by Michael Sweeney on Saturday and world-premiered the new piece Dark Cloud “Oologah” by composer Ryan Main. It was commissioned by the Oologah High School Band with assistance from the Claremore Symphony League. The concert band earned a Superior or Gold Rating and took first place in their class.

The Jazz band performed a set of tunes including Splanky by Neal Hefty, Gospel by Carl Strommen, Embraceable You by George & Ira Gershwin and Poco Loco by Carl Strommen. Soloists included Blake Hightower on alto sax and Charlene Hines and Kyla Wagoner on trumpet. Blake Hightower won the Maestro award for his solo in Embraceable You.

The jazz band also earned a Superior or Gold Rating. The Oologah Band was one of only four groups who earned gold ratings which qualified them for an invitation to the prestigious Festival of Gold for future trips.

In addition to all of these awards and achievements the band was also recognized with the Spirit of Chicago Award.

This award is presented to the school that best represents its student body, its community, its families and the ideals of citizenship, cooperation, and music education. Heritage Festival staff take notice of students who are being polite, supportive and representing everything they want a Heritage Festival to be. The Oologah High School band was chosen from all the other participating schools for this award.

The band traveled over 1,600 miles in five days. Band members spent the first two days of the trip taking in the sights and sounds of Chicago. The band visited the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute of Chicago, Willis Tower, Millennium Park (the bean), as well as The Shedd Aquarium.

Students heard some fantastic authentic jazz music at Andy’s Jazz Club as well as the awesome sights and sounds of the Blue Man Group and Medieval Times.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our students. Thank you so much to the communities of Oologah and Talala for their continued support of the band,” Matthews said. “Thank you to the parents, teachers and everyone in our extended families and community who bought the beef jerky, candy, flowers, attended the jazz dinner, gave donations, etc. You helped give the students a wonderful experience that they will never forget.”

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