George W. Davis
GREEN: Green Middle School band director Lisa Aglioti’s combined eighth-grade band is having a good year.
The 77-member band has received “two very high honors” this year, said the 19-year instrumental music instructor.
The band has been selected to perform for band directors at two conferences.
Aglioti said Green is the only middle school band in Ohio chosen to perform at the Ohio Band Directors Conference Dec. 6 at the University of Akron.
On Feb. 6, the band will be one of only two middle school bands in Ohio to perform at the Ohio Music Education Professional Development Conference at the Columbus Convention Center.
Band members have devoted countless individual hours of practice and have worked with outside conductors during their regular rehearsals to sharpen their skills.
The day before they play in Akron, the band will perform Wagon Trail in the presence of Los Angeles-based composer Julie Ann Giroux, who penned the piece and will attend the band’s last practice before the big debut.
The Emmy Award-winning composer-arranger has more than 100 film and television credits and has arranged for such entertainers as Celine Dion, Paula Abdul, Liza Minnelli, Reba McEntire, Little Richard and Michael Jackson.
Among others providing musical guidance to the band was Dr. Gene Milford, music education senior lecturer at the University of Akron.
“My goal with every middle school band that I have every year is to get them to play as musical as a college band with the music that is appropriate for them,” said Aglioti.
The band’s selection for these honors began when the players were seventh-graders and their performance then was taped as a “blind audition” in which CDs were sent to a committee.
For the February appearance, more than 120 CDs were submitted from middle and high schools plus college bands and choirs for performance consideration.
“Generally, we do not apply for conferences every year because it’s such a strain on the program … the other loose ends that take a back seat when all of your efforts and resources are put into the conference band. I’ve always felt it cheats the other band above and below grade-wise to do that every year.”
A flutist who earned her undergraduate degree at Kent State University and her master’s of music education at the University of Akron, Aglioti teaches instrumental music at both the intermediate and middle schools.
Aglioti’s bands have performed previously for music educators — in 1995 and 2003 at the Ohio Band Directors Conference, in 2005 at the American School Band Directors State Conference and as a demonstration band at the Northeastern Ohio Education Association workshop in 2006.
Amy Rach, in her third year as Green High School’s head band director and in her eighth year of teaching in Green, recorded the band’s rehearsal last week and then spoke highly of the students and their instructor.
“I think all of our concert bands are really outstanding and work hard,” Rach said. “This band just has a lot of great personalities, and they just really mesh together. That’s what makes them really special. Every year we have great bands in the middle school, and this is just a year that we happened to be invited to these clinics.”
Asked about fitting in to the high school band program next school year, Rach said, “They are going to fit in really well. We have several strong classes ahead of them … but they are going to fit in really well.
“Without a doubt, this eighth-grade band is exceptional.”
George W. Davis can be emailed at email@example.com.