Mayo’s big band at Big 9


Jack Hintermeister, Staff Writer

On April 29th, Mayo High School’s Band, Orchestra, and Choir performed at the Big 9 Musical Festival at Austin High School. This Big 9 musical festival is a showcase of many different high schools’ bands, orchestras, and choirs. The schools consist of Austin, Mayo, Northfield, Red Wing, John Marshall, Mankato West, Mankato East, Winona, Faribault, Albert Lea, Century, and Owatonna. The daytime performances, consisting of all the bands, orchestras, and choirs were all free to view by other participating schools and friendly faces of the performers. There is a Select band consisting of members from all bands that performed in the evening. Mayo’s band performed at 8:45 AM; the orchestra performed at 10:15 AM, and the choir performed at 1:45 PM. Having staggered performance times like this makes it possible that those not playing with each group can watch them perform.

Starting the day off early in the morning, the people with bigger instruments such as bass, percussion, or tuba, got to Mayo early to load their instruments onto the bus. Having everything pre-packed with assignments for everyone to carry something made it easy to keep track of everything during transport. The band including brass, woodwinds, and percussion loaded onto many buses along with the orchestra and choir to head up to Austin High School.

Upon arrival at Austin, the bigger instruments got loaded off of the bus, into the school, and directed towards a smaller gym for storage. Because the band performed so early in the morning, there wasn’t much need to leave everything in storage immediately. The smaller instruments, such as woodwinds and smaller orchestral instruments were brought straight to Mayo’s warm-up space.

After being warmed up, the band headed onto the stage of the Knowlton Auditorium before our performance time to give ourselves enough time to set everything up. With a bigger band than the last, that would mean we needed more chairs on top of all the percussion equipment being hauled on. The percussionists needed to work swiftly, but not sloppily due to there being a $100,000+ piano in the proximity of everyone on stage. The band performed well despite there being a lot more audience members than in the Mayo Auditorium. Once done, the equipment needed to get off the stage just as quickly as it got on.

The orchestra was the next to perform. Some members of the band accompanied the strings to fulfill the songs performed. There was little time between packing everything up from the band and starting to warm up with the orchestra. With a quick warm-up of each song and a few touch-ups here and there, the orchestra went to their performance site, the Packer Gym, and performed multiple pieces, some with the band accompaniment and some without. There was less equipment brought on stage for the orchestra, so getting off the stage was just as easy.

One last Mayo group had performed; the choir went on stage around 1:45 PM. With even less equipment than the orchestra, the choir was able to have efficient warm-ups along with a simple set-up at their performance site.

The last band to perform in the evening was the Select band. This band consists of the nominated players from multiple high schools. They were assigned many pieces to perform in an honor band setting. They had rehearsal after most high schools had packed up and left Austin. There was dinner provided for them, then they were able to perform what they had prepared.

The Big 9 music festival was a great success as many groups played beautifully. With lunch and refreshments being offered along with ample time for taking in all sorts of music. From listening to Latin grooves, to hero music, the time in Austin was one to remember.

For more details about the festival, go here: