Eighth grade musicians from Hosford and Sellwood middle schools were welcomed into the auditorium to play with Cleveland band members on Thursday, Feb 2. These middle schoolers were the centerpiece of Cleveland’s second annual Future Warriors Band Concert, and they truly showcased the talent and musical programs of local Portland schools. Not only was the environment inviting and warm, but the music was obviously well practiced and amazingly executed.
The Hosford eighth grade band started out the night, followed by Sellwood. Their music choices were diverse and interesting, from overtures describing volcanic eruptions to opera excerpts. In fact, the only thing more impeccable than the music was their crisp black and white matching outfits. Following their performances, it was Cleveland’s turn, first bringing the freshman band onstage and ending the night with the jazz ensemble. The latter performed music written and inspired by jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington, and even included soloists like Georgia Hastie, Cleveland junior, on tenor saxophone.
For Cleveland band teacher Gary Riler, the night served as an opportunity to familiarize local eighth graders with the Cleveland band program, and show them just how fun joining could be. In fact, according to Riler, recruiting was one of the biggest reasons he had the freshman band play. “All of them recognized the eighth graders from last year–it kind of puts a connection for them, to see that those kids that they know are in the program already. It’s just a good way for the kids to say, ‘Oh, this is a fun thing for me to do.’” Riler even switched the timing of the concert to forecasting season, a move that allows incoming band members to experience this unique opportunity before settling on freshman classes.
Even though this is only the second year Cleveland has hosted middle school bands, it is hoped it will become a tradition that lives on for years to come. And as for now, the event has certainly accomplished its ultimate goal – for the future musicians of Cleveland High School to feel relaxed, supported, and at home.