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High school bands come together for special performance

BY: Kimberly Snickles, Cheektowaga Source | February 19, 2013

It was a very patriotic evening on Valentine’s Day as Cleveland Hill and Cheektowaga Central held their third annual ‘Band Festival’ to honor the armed forces.

“We are trying to instill a sense of community with them and this year we programmed something to thank our veterans,” said Shawn Rydzik, Cheektowaga Central Band Director.

Rydzik with the help of Cleveland Hill Band Director Cindy Schmitt put together a 140-piece band to showcase student talent to parents, friends, and residents.  The 'Band Festival' which was held at the Cleveland Hill Walter Heffley Auditorium, was free and open to the public. The schools even went to local VFW posts and invited veterans to attend. 

The students performed patriotic songs to symbolize the courage of the first responders at the tragic Sandy Hook and Webster events. The musical pieces included “Armed Forces Salute,” National Emblem March,” “Rumble on the High Plains,” and “With Quiet Courage.”

“So we were teaching an emotional theme behind our music. The music wasn’t necessarily dedicated to that kind of thing but it’s the title and the sound that portrays that emotion,” said Rydzik.

The goal of the event was to bring the two high schools together and show the students they are not alone in their talent. According to Rydzik it gives the students the opportunity to make new friends and share what they do at each individual school. Not to mention it encourages other students to join band that might normally not.

Performing in a band not only showcases talent but it also helps improve a student’s academic career. Students have to be able to read musical notes and use their physical body to express the notes they are reading.

“It has been proven kids in music attend to achieve higher overall and I think it is because they are multitasking in such a unique way,” said Rydzik.

The schools will continue to hold this event each and every year to bring the community together via the performing arts.

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