Just before Spring Break, Staci Webb, Key Peninsula Middle School’s band and choir teacher, invited me to a concert at KPMS featuring both the current KPMS band and some of its alumni who are now in the Peninsula High band. It was a spectacular, well attended performance.
"Since it is my fifth year teaching at KPMS,” Webb said, "I realized that students who were eighth-graders my first year are now seniors in high school. I thought it would be fun to have some of them return to KPMS to perform with the band before they graduate. I was also thinking of how great it would be to see and work with some of these students again.”
With the help of Peninsula High band teacher Justin Ehli, Webb got word to PHS students and sent them music ahead of time. They met for one rehearsal the day before the concert.
“I feel it is important that we build a bridge between middle and high school,” Webb said. “Hopefully this event helped do that. PHS has a fantastic program and it is always my hope that students choose to continue their music education once they leave middle school."
PHS junior Cedar Combs said, "Being active in band during middle school, I experienced a whole new world in music. Returning to KPMS I was excited to see a large group of students being just as active as I was. Mrs. Webb keeps students motivated and adds fun while continuing to learn important skills about music.”
For classmate Mackenzie Mills, "Returning to play in a band with my former middle school was amazing. Seeing all the new musicians, Mrs. Webb, and performing the music was an experience to remember.”
"It was a great experience playing with the high schoolers," said KPMS eighth-grader Elizabeth Johnson. "I learned a lot and felt like I became better playing with them.” Classmate Ella Cashman said, "It's inspiring to play with musicians who are more advanced than you are.”
To classmate Leyla Vanderbank, “band is a great experience and something I will never forget. When we get to perform with the high schoolers, it is amazing. I love the sound. I love band, and I always will.”
"Band is awesome and so are the band teachers,” declared eighth-grader Sage Lamphere.
PHS freshman Grace Coyle proclaimed, "It was amazing. I got to go back and see old friends and teachers. The performance was fun, despite the music being a little easy for me. It was also interesting to find out who some other alumni were. I was glad to be a part of this experience.”
"I love being in band,” said seventh-grader Curtis Staples. "It’s a great program and I think the concert went really well. Mrs. Webb is a great instructor and we are lucky to have her.”
Webb was delighted so many students came back to perform. Ehli, a guest conductor, even led one number, “Memories of Spring Hill.”
It was such a joy for me to make music with these students again and to see the growth they have made as musicians,” Webb said. “The experience was a good one for my current band students.”
And also for a full house audience of proud parents, grandparents, friends and me!
Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.