En­core Band keeps stu­dents prac­tic­ing, per­form­ing

En­core Band adds an­other out­let for stu­dent mu­si­cians

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - Twitter: @in­dy_­com­mu­nity By SARA NEW­MAN snew­man@somd­news.com

Ridge Hay­den plans on pur­su­ing mu­sic through high school and beyond and joined an after school band en­sem­ble to help him get there.

The 13-year-old New­burg stu­dent has his sights set on a mu­sic ca­reer — his school of choice is the Ju­liard School in New York City — and with the help of the En­core Band en­sem­ble, he is on his way there.

En­core Band, a group un­der the um­brella of the Charles County Youth Or­ches­tra, CCYO, is an en­sem­ble for mid­dle school level band stu­dents, open to any age by au­di­tion. The group prac­tices Wed­nes­day evenings through­out the school year and gives con­certs in Jan­uary and May with other per­for­mance op­por­tu­ni­ties through­out the year. The band aims at giv­ing stu­dents strongly in­ter­ested in band an­other op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice and per­form out­side of their reg­u­lar school band and lessons.

Takako Mato, an el­e­men­tary school band teacher who teaches at Hig­don, Mitchell and Craik el­e­men­tary schools, started the group two years ago with the en­cour­age­ment of other county teach­ers. With or­ches­tra and En­core Strings groups al­ready es­tab­lished, Mato said she wanted to de­velop a pro­gram for the in­ter­ested band stu­dents as well.

“There was no band [en­sem­ble] so the band stu­dents had no other place to per­form out­side of school,” Mato said. When she started the group in 2014, her goal was to give in­ter­ested stu­dents an op­por­tu­nity to per­form at a higher level.

The band is cur­rently made up of 21 stu­dents, though Mato is hop­ing more will sign up, rang­ing in ages from 8 to 13. The group is open to all stu­dents of any age, though a mid­dle school level per­for­mance is re­quired. The band is open to all stu­dents in South­ern Maryland, but Mato said it is pri­mar­ily made up of Charles County and some Prince Ge­orge’s County stu­dents.

In­stru­ments played in­clude the flute, oboe, clar­inet, sax­o­phone, trum­pet, trom­bone, bari­tone, drums and the French horn.

“I think [the stu­dents] en­joy play­ing more chal­leng­ing pieces and these stu­dents signed up be­cause they want to play and some­times school band is not as chal­leng­ing,” Mato said. “The rhythm and notes [of this mu­sic is] more dif­fi­cult, so these kids re­ally like the chal­lenge and they get bet­ter at it. The sec­ond year stu­dents got bet­ter from last year and their tech­nique is so much bet­ter.”

This is Hay­den’s sec­ond year with the band. He plays the Alto Sax­o­phone — an in­stru­ment he picked up three years ago.

“It has a nice sound,” Hay­den said of his in­stru­ment. “I like that we can play parts along with the other in­stru­ments. When I was younger I tried gui­tar but it didn’t stick.”

Alyssa Rios, 14, is also in her sec­ond year with En­core Band, mov­ing from clar­inet to bass clar­inet this year. Rios said she ap­pre­ci­ates the op­por­tu­nity to meet new peo­ple and re­ceive a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive from her school’s band.

“There’s kids from all dif­fer­ent schools here so there’s a lot of new peo­ple I don’t know and it’s a chance to make new friends,” Rios said. “[Per­form­ing in En­core Band] gives you a dif­fer­ent learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment than school. I have two dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives from my dif­fer­ent teach­ers here and at school.”

Jack Pat­ter­son, 8, the youngest per­former in the group, plays the French horn. In his first year with the band, Pat­ter­son said he chose the in­stru­ment be­cause he liked how it sounded and plans to keep play­ing mu­sic as he gets older.

In his sec­ond year with En­core Band, Matt Hew, 13, plays clar­inet, an in­stru­ment he’s played for four years.

“I de­cided to join be­cause I saw they needed play­ers,” Hew said. “The [en­sem­bles] at school, the kids that are there don’t al­ways want to be there but with En­core Band ev­ery­one wants to be here and they care about what they’re do­ing. They’re bet­ter play­ers.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on En­core Band and how to au­di­tion, go to www.ccyo.com. An­other au­di­tion will be held in Jan­uary.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY SARA NEW­MAN

Takako Mato, di­rec­tor of En­core Band, in­structs her stu­dents dur­ing re­hearsal at La Plata High School in La Plata. Un­der the um­brella of the Charles County Youth Or­ches­tra, the group is an en­sem­ble for mid­dle school level band stu­dents, open to any age by au­di­tion.

Ridge Hay­den, 13, plays alto sax­o­phone in En­core Band, a South­ern Maryland en­sem­ble. The group meets Wed­nes­day evenings and per­forms twice a year.

Takako Mato, di­rec­tor of En­core Band, in­structs her stu­dents dur­ing re­hearsal at La Plata High School in La Plata. Un­der the um­brella of the Charles County Youth Or­ches­tra, the group is an en­sem­ble for mid­dle school level band stu­dents, open to any age by au­di­tion.

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