The Rolla Board of Education recognized the Rolla High School Marching Band for a triumphant and undefeated season as well as recognizing three students that had individual success at the Missouri All-State Band auditions.
The marching band continues to be a staple of the community with inspiring, uplifting performances, and President of the Rolla Board of Education, Jane Haskell, applauded the band for their undefeated 2018 fall season.
On behalf of the talented students that make up the marching band, Rolla Band Director, John Slowensky, expressed his admiration for the talented youth he is honored to work with at the board of education meeting Dec. 13, 2018.
“I'd like to start with every time I go anywhere like I got my haircut this morning and just the barber is like, ‘how do you deal with all of those kids,’ and I say, ‘because we have great kids,’” said Slowensky. “I said, ‘you don’t understand the future of our nation is good because they are strong and they are smart, and we are blessed every day to work with so many of these talented kids.’”
The students that make up the band wake up early in the morning and spend a tremendous amount of time working and practicing to garner the skill set that is readily seen by the community, and they genuinely have to love what they do to be successful, said Slowensky.
The marching band attends typically four to five marching competitions throughout the fall, and the marching band is “incredibly large” for the schools’ size, so the Rolla marching band ends up competing against conference 5A or conference 6A bands, and the band persists in winning their conference.
The band then has their finals competition. Rolla came in first place, noted Slowensky, and they won most of the caption awards that include; best color guard, best overall effect, best percussion and best visual.
There is currently 30 to 35 youth from Rolla Public Schools that are in Rolla's district bands -- the honors band, the concert bands and the jazz bands. And those that made the top bands for the district were able to try out for the Missouri All-State Band auditions held on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.
“Making or even coming close to making the Missouri All-State Band is extremely hard. I can’t tell you how hard that is, it’s very hard to get kids in there, and hard for those kids to make it,” said Slowensky.
This year three students from Rolla Public Schools prospered at the Missouri All-State Band auditions: Kristina Happel, Sudatta Hor and Sarah Woods.
Kristina Happel made the Missouri All-State Band on flute and Happel will be performing with the prestigious ensemble at the MMEA State Convention in January. Sudatta Hor was selected first alternate on tuba, and Sarah Woods was an honorable-mention on french horn.
Slowensky expressed how proud he was of the “band family” and said, “I had two or three guys that were at least in their upper 70s and 80s. And hearing from those people that have been on this Earth for that long with that much knowledge, really appreciate the work that we are putting in, and our kids are putting in, and they see that determination.
“And that is so rewarding hearing those compliments from those older gentlemen and ladies, and they were like, ‘you guys love what you do, don’t you,’ and I said, ‘yeah we really love what we do, and our kids, I hope they love it as well,’ they seem to anyway, if not they are good fakers.”