By TIM CLEVELAND
With the school year winding down and its fourth-graders moving on, Union Elementary hosted a wind ensemble concert by the Poland Seminary High School band on May 28 for its kindergarten through fourth-grade student body.
“We’ve been doing this for a while,” said PSHS band director Nick Olesko. “It’s a recruitment concert as well as just going and playing for the kids. We like to get the fourth-graders excited about band because they’re going to have a chance to start band in fifth-grade, so we get them excited in the spring and then hopefully that carries through to the fall.”
The marching band will be doing another recruitment concert during the first week of school. There are approximately 50 students in the PSHS wind ensemble, which along with the symphonic band and the concert band, make up the school’s marching band.
The wind ensemble played several songs for the Union students.
“We have a nice program, a light spring program,” Olesko said. “We’re going to play Symphonic dances from ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ then we’re going to play the theme from ‘Super Mario Brothers.’ We’re going to play a song called ‘Sea Rock City.’ There’s a lot of jazz influence, a couple jazz improv. solos in the middle. We’re going to play the theme from ‘Sponge Bob Squarepants’ for the kids, some little sing-along with the kids. Then we’re going to finish up with tunes from ‘Frozen.’”
Olesko said the recruitment concerts are important to ensure that students continue to get involved in band.
“I think it’s important now with not having an elementary music teacher in the elementary schools anymore, I think it’s really important that we have the high school kids coming and showing these kids how fun music can be and getting them excited about hopefully joining music when they get to fifth grade,” he said. “The biggest thing is they love coming back and visiting the teachers they had when they were in elementary school. Some of them have younger brothers and sisters in this school and just to be back in the building and playing for the kids and bringing some enjoyment and excitement means a lot to them.”
Senior flute and piccolo player Ann Riddle is a graduate of Union Elementary. She was thrilled to be back in her former school.
“It’s exciting. I absolutely love this place,” she said. “I remember sitting in the row and when the drums would play, you could just like feel everything throughout the gym because it was so loud, but it was so much fun. I remember how much I loved it back in kindergarten through fourth-grade. I like being back here and doing it the last couple years.”