Bucyrus students perform with U.S. Army Field Band

Bucyrus students perform with U.S. Army Field Band
Posted on 03/25/2015

The opportunity to perform with professional musicians does not happen often for high school students. However, when given the opportunity, six Bucyrus High School band members shone during their musical performance.

The Crawford County Community Concert Association sponsored a performance at Bucyrus High School featuring the U.S. Army Field Band & Soldier's Chorus Feb. 27. High School band director, Mr. Mark Fiske, chose students Mason Kent, Bailey Plumley, Jacob Ponziani, Makayla Schwartz, Kayleigh Seiber and Selena Snodgrass to perform with the group.

"Typically for something like this, there would be at least a month of practice involved, but preparation was limited to well under one week," Fiske said. "These six students were chosen based on both their music reading abilities and their comparative fearlessness in similar public situations."

The students joined the band near the conclusion of the concert, performing "Dogface Solider". According to the United States Army Fort Stewart website, the piece was written early in 1942 by two musically illiterate infantry men as a protest against the very commercial war songs then being published.

"No one, including Mr. Fiske, knew about that song or had heard of it before," senior Selena Snodgrass said. "We had to sight read because no one knew how it was supposed to be performed."

During the performance, Snodgrass played the alto saxophone, Mason Kent played in the percussion section, Bailey Plumley played the tuba, Jacob Ponziani the trombone, Makayla Schwartz the flute and Kayleigh Seiber the trumpet.

"I practiced and practiced and practiced the music they sent to us with the hope that I could measure up to them and perform at their level," sophomore Mason Kent said. "It was a huge honor because there aren't too many people that get to perform with the U.S. Army Field Band."

The United States Army Field Band has been thrilling audiences of all ages for more than six decades. As the premier touring musical representative for the United States Army, this internationally acclaimed organization travels thousands of miles each year presenting a variety of music to enthusiastic audiences throughout the nation and abroad.

"The service men and women were all very nice and very welcoming," Snodgrass said. "They really wanted to talk to us and get us involved and I wasn"t nervous. When I was done performing, they told me I had done a phenomenal job and they were glad to have had me play with them."

The opportunity for these students was important to their band director because it reinforced the values he most encourages in Bucyrus High School band members. Those values include leadership, discipline, being on time and providing a positive example to others.

"These six band members were able to share the stage with world-class performers, who got that way on those same principles," Fiske said. "It was a rare opportunity that many will never experience, and the students and I are thankful to the US Army Field Band for presenting that opportunity."

To learn more about the U.S. Army Field Band, please visit www.armyfieldband.com. Please contact Mr. Mark Fiske at 419-562-6500 for more information about the Bucyrus High School bands.