Warren Central Wind Ensemble picks up first place

Published 11:04 am Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Warren Central High School’s Wind Ensemble, which is comprised of about a third of the 150 member high school marching band, walked away with a first place win at the OrlandoFest band competition in Orlando, Florida.

Accustomed to winning superior ratings at state marching band competitions, the members of the concert band were a little stunned to hear they had taken first place said band director Alan Arendale.

“We have never won at a regional level,” he said.

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Arendale said the competition included 25 bands from all over the U.S. and that the competition was held at an Orlando high school with an awards ceremony at Universal Studios.

Arendale said the three judges for the competition were band directors from the University of Central Florida, University of Florida and the University of South Florida

When performing in competitions, schools are grouped in divisions based on the size of the high school, Arendale said. Warren Central was in the second largest category at the competition, meaning the pieces of music required for performance were more difficult and harder to play.

Arendale said the Wind Ensemble performed three different genres of music, but the students best liked performing “Legend of Bafe” composed by John Fannin.

“It was the most challenging and it is well-written and fun to play,” he said.

Damien Jones, a senior member of the Wind Ensemble, has a motto of Impossible is nothing, said his mother, that he uses when faced with learning to play difficult pieces of music.

The band members not only spent hours practicing before the competition, but Arendale said members also dedicated time and energy to fundraising to help defray the cost of the trip.

Some of the projects were selling pizza kits and cookie dough and washing cars, Arendale said. The group also sold pork roast, smoked by Goldie’s Trail Barbecue.

Arendale said he was not only proud of the band’s first-place win but also of compliments he received on the behavior of the students.

“One of the wait staff members of the hotel where we were staying asked me if I was the band director for the group. I said ‘yes’ and the young guy said to me, ‘These kids are so nice.’”