AA Band – an event to remember

Jayla Mitchell, Staff Writer

As apart of the top band at CMR, Hailey Finch got to experience something incredibly unique to Montana schools.

From March 4-5, CMR’s symphonic band participated in the AA Music Festival. Students from around the state meet in one city, rehearse for two days, and perform pieces they have prepared endlessly for. This year, it was hosted in Great Falls by Great Falls High School.

“This was actually the 50th year of AA festivals in Montana,” Finch said. “It’s something where bands, AA most of the time, from across the state get together in groups of two and you play amazing repertoire, you get to learn from a really good conductor, and just expand your knowledge and experience with music.”

During the two days, the groups rehearsed for the duration of the school day with few breaks and a lunch.

Despite the tiring rehearsals, it was still a very memorable experience for Finch, “It’s really unique that we get to experience this musical festival and grow as musicians.”

Each night, after the day rehearsal, there were concerts. The first night was solely for individual school bands while the second night was dedicated to the combined bands.

“Our individual concert was on Monday and we went first and we had some issues, but it was a good concert. You always go out of a concert thinking what you could’ve done better,” she said. “You never finish a piece, you never stop rehearsing. There’s always things to work on and there’s always things to improve on.”

As for the other groups, Finch was impressed.

“We were able to listen to everyone else, and again, really really talented groups from all around the state. It was really interesting to hear their styles of playing and watch their conductors and how they reacted with the band because each band is unique,” she said.

The second night of performances went just as well, maybe even better.

“I really enjoyed the repertoire we had. It was exciting, and we were able to see how much we had improved in those two days with Dr. Otto and his teachings. It was a really rewarding experience to come out of those two long, hard days of constant rehearsal and being able to get something so powerful out of it,” Finch said.

“It’s really fun, I enjoyed myself and I’m happy I get to do it again next year.”