Band students impressed audience members with a range of instrumental talent.
From classic rock to modern jazz, band students under the direction of Kendel Hickenbottom presented an energetic musical performance. Playing alongside the students, Kendel Hickenbottom showcased the hands-on directing he’s known for, praising students in between sets for their courage, growth and character.
Sixth grade band students started off the show, playing high school level music and bringing the energy. Soloists donned black sunglasses and stood with exuberance, beaming with pride. For many of these new band students, this was their first experience playing an instrument in front of a crowd, and their director praised them for it, saying, “Our sixth grade band members led courageously in their willingness to play such advanced music.” Several of the sixth graders also performed improv solos, “which means they had no music for that specific part and had to ad lib,” a challenging task for any musician!
The seventh grade through upper school band wowed with hits such as “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by the Police, “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson and “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Kendel Hickenbottom also gave his students the chance to choose some of the music, landing “Megolovania” on the program, a song from a popular video game.
In 2019, when Kendel Hickenbottom joined SBS arts as director of instrumental music, there were only four students in the fifth and sixth grade band. Now there are 23 students in sixth grade band alone, and Mr. Hickenbottom is hopeful it will continue to grow. “We’ve already more than doubled the entire program.”
The seventh grade through upper school band has also increased, in both numbers and quality. “They were playing grade 2 level music when I came in as director, and now they are reading up to grade 4 level music which is advanced high school music,” says Mr. Hickenbottom. Eight of our high school students made the All-Region Honor Band and all eight made the second level, the Area Honor Band. Ryan Gamble ‘22 missed the All-State Band by one place. Mr. Hickenbottom proudly concludes, “These students have grown so much in their talents. I am very proud of what they have achieved.”