St. Vrain Band Night
Stands full of cheering fans. Bright lights on the playing field. This is not the start of a football game. This is St. Vrain Band Night!
Each October, marching bands from St. Vrain Valley Schools and surrounding districts join together for a showcase event of hard work and band spirit.
In the early 1980s, Bill Wilkinson, a retired Band Director, had the idea to create a marching band event that shifted the focus from competition to one of collaboration. As costs of marching in a competitive show became too high and the focus became too much on winning a trophy, Wilkinson’s vision was to bring back the excitement of music performance and the focus on teamwork.
Wilkinson noted, “In marching band, there is no one on the bench. A student said, ‘I am in band. In football, you are on a team.’ That really shows that every person is important in a band. It makes kids feel like they are needed and wanted. That’s what draws them to marching band. I think that says a lot.”
On band night, hundreds of fellow band members and supportive parents fill the stands. Each band takes the field and gives its best performance from traditional marches to pop songs. Every performance, big or small, receives a rousing round of applause from supportive peers.
“We break down, literally step-for-step, how to get to that last final goal of the fall show, “ said Wade Hendricks, Niwot High Band Director. “It helps students to not only understand achieving goals but also how to work as a small and large team to reach that goal.”
Band Night is a solid example of the district music departments’ focus on collaboration. Schools can focus on supporting one another and district programs.
“Music, if done right, can be entirely collaborative, said Dr. Karen Gregg, Band Director of Lyons Middle/Senior High. “St. Vrain has such a collegial music environment. In sports, kids have to compete against their teammates to make it to the varsity level and then against other others schools for the win. That is not how it works for music. They love supporting their friends that are participating.
Joshua Kirkwood, Director of Bands at Mead High School, emphasized that St. Vrain is unique in its decision to be a non-compete district:
“The cool part about Band Night is we get to show that teamwork produces better programs. As a district, we show that you can have a phenomenal program without having to outshine each other. It makes our district an attractive place to be.”
St. Vrain Valley Schools also invites surrounding districts to be part of this exhibition. Paula Gruentzel, Director of Bands/Music of Fort Lupton, brings her students to Band Night because of the positive environment.
“We love Band Night because it is so well organized and because the expectations are so high, not just for musicianship, but for behavior and camaraderie,” said Gruentzel. “Kids learn to show respect for the other performers because you understand how hard they worked. You cheer for everybody.”
Celebrate the hard work and dedication of St. Vrain marching band students on October 7, at 6:00 p.m.