This semester, make sure to keep an eye out not only for the orchestra and band concerts but also for the honors band concert built of highly-skilled students. Eight Albion students have been chosen to play in the Michigan Intercollegiate Honors Band. This honors band picks students based on their applications from multiple small private schools in Michigan and brings them together for one large concert.
One of the eight students from Albion College, Edgar Guitron, a junior from La Puente, Cali., describes that this will be his first year performing in the Michigan Intercollegiate Honors Band. Guitron currently plays the trumpet in Albion’s orchestra, symphonic band and marching band.
“It’s going to be really cool meeting different people from different colleges and getting their own take on their experiences,” says Guitron.
This year, the Michigan Intercollegiate Honors Band will be performing their concert at Hope College on Feb. 13.
Samuel McIlhagga, the band director and a professor at Albion College, played in the honors band for four years when he was in college. “The whole point of having this honors band is that the smaller schools don’t often have the number of strong musicians to be able to do some more challenging music. So we can offer our really strong students more of an advanced musical experience that they wouldn’t necessarily get here in their ensemble,” says McIlhagga.
The students picked for the honors band have to practice consistently because they only meet together for a rehearsal once, on the day of the concert.
“They’ll get to Hope College and they’ll have a rehearsal from 9 [a.m.] until noon,” says McIlhagga, “then they’ll have another rehearsal from 2 [p.m.] to 5 [p.m.], and then they’ll do the concert at 7 [p.m.].”
A very intense and long day, the students will have to play together for the first time and hope that it runs smoothly. Chelsea Adams, a junior from Livonia, Mich., will be playing the baritone saxophone in the concert, although she also plays other types of saxophones, the flute and minor percussion like the triangle.
“I’ve played in honors bands and collegiate honors bands but not this one … it’s really fun to have a really big day of music and play so many different styles,” says Adams.
An exciting bonus for this year’s concert is that the students will get a chance to perform in Hope College’s new performance hall.
“I took classes [at Hope College] this summer … it was really cool to see it being built, and now I’m getting the chance to actually go in and perform in it,” says Adams.
Playing alongside Adams and Guitron are St. Clair, Mich. sophomore Katie Boni, Livonia, Mich. senior Jackelyn Cubalo, Madison, Wis. freshman Nick Taylor, sophomore from Arlington Heights, Ill. Andrew Vinopal, LaPorte, Ind. freshman Adrianna LaDonne and junior from Caro, Mich. Grace Talaski.
With many talented musicians from Albion College performing in the Michigan Intercollegiate Honors band, it will be a great opportunity to see—and hear—what the students from Albion and other colleges can create.
Photo by Nicole Kurlich