Basha High bands to end year on high note - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Basha High bands to end year on high note

May 12th, 2018 development
Basha High bands to end year on high note

By Colleen Sparks, Staff


Students in the large bands and smaller instrumental groups at Basha High School hope to end the school year on a high note.

Their talent and hard work will be on display when they perform in several concerts this month at the campus on South Val Vista Drive in Chandler.

Basha High School’s Accelerated Middle School bands, orchestras and choirs will perform their spring concert at 6:30 p.m. May 14 on the high school campus, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive.

The symphonic and concert bands, as well as percussion ensemble and flute choir will play in a spring concert at 7 p.m. May 15 at the school.

And Basha’s two jazz bands will take the stage at their spring show at 7 p.m. May 16.

Many bands and other instrumental groups at Basha have distinguished themselves at state competitions and festivals in recent years.

Its Bear Regiment Marching Band took fifth place in Division II at the 2017 Arizona State Marching Band Championship.

The high school’s concert, jazz and symphonic bands do not compete but they participate in the Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association State Jazz and the ABODA State Concert festivals as well as the Arizona Music Educators Association festivals every year.

“We have the biggest band program in Chandler,” Evan Quintus, director of bands for the school and fine arts coordinator for the Accelerated Middle School program said.

“We’re quite big and our program is actually a little different. We’re the only program in Chandler (schools), who can have two full-time band directors. We killed it this year.”

Basha High’s associate director of bands is Miles Denny.

The marching band also got first place in the Holiday Bowl Parade and Holiday Bowl Field Show competitions and performed at the pregame show for the Holiday Bowl in San Diego last year.

The percussion ensemble got second place at the Winter Guard Arizona State Championship this year.

The unit holds eight consecutive WGAZ Championship titles.

About 190 students are in Basha High’s band program including all the bands, the percussion ensemble, the flute choir and the jazz bands.

A green band and a gold band, comprising 73 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in the Accelerated Middle School, will play traditional band music at their concert May 14.  

Prior to the concert starting, students in AMS’ creative music class will present songs they created digitally using computers and apps in the school lobby.

At the high school performance on May 15, the highest-level symphonic band, with about 40 students, will play marches and “tone poems” – orchestral music that illustrate or evoke content in a poem, short story, novel, painting or other non-musical source.

“It’s literally like if you close your eyes and imagine (a) movie to music,” Quintus said.

The Basha High concert band has about 48 students, mainly “for students to learn the basics of ensemble, he said.

The 23 students in the percussion ensemble, which Denny directs, play “grooves that are in weird meters” and “more modern” music, Quintus said. The class is “student-led,” though Denny helps them rehearse.

‘It’s more about a percussionist having a musical motive, it’s about the musical advancement,” Quintus said. “It’s a really good mixture. You have everything from a fresh percussionist who has never held a pair of sticks up to our…top echelon percussionist. That space provides opportunities for those students who are more musically advanced to lead.”  

The flute choir, with nine students, delivers songs in duets, solos and trios and “the intent of that ensemble is to promote solo and chamber ensemble music,” said Quintus, who conducts that group.

Students play a different type of music in Basha’s Jazz Band One and Jazz Band Two.

Jazz Band One has 20 students who play different types of jazz, mostly swing, as well as funk Latin and New Orleans music. Jazz Band Two is for students who are learning jazz.

All the concerts are free, though people can make a tax credit donation to Basha’s band program if they like.

In his second year at Basha High and his first year as director of bands there, Quintus has a master’s degree in instrumental conducting and a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education from Northern Arizona University.

He said he “couldn’t have imagined” the band and instrumental music students would have earned so much recognition in his first year as director of bands.

“We just took this year by the horns,” Quintus said. “They’re (students) beyond tenacious and Basha kids are known for having a little bit of grit and I think that’s a good thing.”