Musical Pilots head to states

WARREN, Mich. – De La Salle Collegiate’s concert band is heading to states!

The Pilots' concert band will compete in the state competition after earning a Superior rating, the highest rating possible for their performances last Saturday at the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association District XVI Band Festival at Warren Woods Tower High School. 

“I’m super happy for this group of kids,” said Mike Szczegielniak, De La Salle’s music department director. “They’ve worked hard to get where they are, and it’s really nice for them to get rewarded with this success.” 

The overall score is computed using a formula that combines the ratings from each judge. Ensembles that earn a 1 rating – or Superior – are qualified for State Band & Orchestra Festival in late April.

Szczegielniak said the group performed three pieces, as well as a sight-reading. The three pieces included a march (Lexington by Karl King), a piece from a selected list (A Little Tango Music by Adam Gorb, featuring three different tango rhythms), and a self-selected piece (Gadget by Randall Standridge). 

“We’re looking forward to getting back to work,” Szczegielniak said, “and thrilled to get a shot to perform at the state level.” 

While this is Szczegielniak’s third trip to the state finals since he took over the music program at the all-boys’ school in 2008, for current students, this is a first. 

“I am very happy that we are able to go on to states,” senior clarinet player Jarod Amparo said. “We have never had this opportunity before. Now that it’s my last year, and we are able to go, it is exciting. It should be a cool experience.” 

State competition for the solo and ensemble qualifiers is March 14 at Chippewa Valley High School.  Szczegielniak says that each year his students have qualified for the state competition. 

Qualifying in late January at the district competition at Rochester High School was freshman James Walter (baritone sax); Regina sophomore Kayla Helgren (flute); juniors Daniel Kaiser (tenor sax), Stephen Lubera (trumpet), and Nathan Arnold (soprano sax); and senior Joseph Wiegand (alto sax).

Szczegielniak also teaches beginning band, marching band, jazz band, show choir, and International Baccalaureate music.

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