Wheatland Bands wow audiences at spring concert and announces accolades

Mark DeLap
Posted 5/8/23

WHS spring concert and there was snow

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Wheatland Bands wow audiences at spring concert and announces accolades


WHEATLAND – The combined bands from Wheatland Middle School and Wheatland High School gave their final concert performance of the year April 20 in the Wheatland High School auditorium to a packed house.

It was a concert that showcased the talents of all levels of band music in Wheatland, honored the seniors who played their last concert onstage at WHS and also announced the many accolades that the band had recently been awarded at competitions.

“We traveled to Casper for the North Platte District Music Performance Assessment,” Evan Bradley, WHS band teacher said. “The WHS Symphonic Band performed and received Division I (Superior) Ratings from both judges. The next day, members of the WHS Band performed in solos or small groups to have their pieces adjudicated by the judges.”

Wheatland Students earned 10 Division I (Superior) Ratings, 14 Division II (Excellent) Ratings, and four Division III (Good) Ratings.

“The WHS Band is looking forward to the rest of the year preparing for graduation, auditioning for next year's leadership spots, developing musicianship, and preparing to send our 11 seniors off to do great things after high school,” Bradley said. “Those seniors include Megan Biggs, Collin Jones, Logan Hughes, Bella Milton, David Bookout, Eli Jaren, Gavyn Oakes, Lucia Entrop, Jazmine Cain, Keagan Williams, and Shay Eagleton.”

The band came out firing on all cylinders with their award-winning percussion ensemble that mesmerizes the crowd. They first performed Escape Artist by Eric Rath which used a unique balance of drums and xylophones to provide a haunting melody that made the listener envision finding a way of escape out of captivity. They followed it with the song by Matt Moore entitled Rogue Agent.

Bradley who usually gets much out of his musicians followed the percussion ensemble with the Wheatland Middle School Jazz Band which did a brilliant job on Mike Story’s “Cute” and then followed with an edgy tune by Dean Sorenson called “Don’t Poke the Bear.”

More jazz came forth with the WHS jazz band and they stole the show with the Jackson 5’s song “I Want You Back.” They also did a favorite standby “Stand By Me” which was arranged by the WHS jazz band and then locals were wowed as percussionist extraordinaire Megan Cecil blew people away as the band brought forth a song called “Happier” that Cecil wrote and Bradley composed and arranged it for the jazz band.

With the blue lights and the silky-smooth growl of Cecil, you could have closed your eyes and envisioned a young Billie Holliday pulling at the heart-strings of the audience. A song with that depth at her age was truly awe-inspiring.

The Wheatland Middle School white band, blue band and gold band then went in succession and brought delightful tunes such as “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Crazy Train” not to mention “A Whole New World.”  The show stopper though came from the Gold band who with some audience interaction began to gather props for their final song. There were many Minnie Mouse ears among the group and smiles to last the night as they played the Disney song, “Hot Dog Dance” made popular by the Mickey Mouse Club and Disney Junior.

It was tight and it was enjoyable and it thrilled the audience, both young and old.

The cherry on the ice cream of the night was the Wheatland High School Symphonic Band who did the songs Ruckus by Randall Standridge, Contemplation by Elena Lucas and Flying Tigers by David Schaffer. The only complaint was that they only did three songs and the smooth and melodic phrasing in the music made everyone want to stay just a while longer.

List of All-State Musicians:

Megan Cecil, Rebecca Crowley, Cooper Hanni, Bryley Waring.

List of All-Northwest Musicians:

Megan Cecil, Bryley Waring