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Band-O-Rama, an intergenerational extravaganza

On Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m., the Pagosa Springs Symphonic Band sponsored by Music Boosters will be at the high school auditorium, joined by the Pagosa Springs High School concert and jazz bands, the junior high school band, a PSSB brass ensemble called Four Geezers and a Chick, guest vocal soloists, and friends from the community and high school choirs for a gala event called Band-O-Rama.

Band-O-Rama is a band festival event meant not only to entertain, but to help promote bands in the schools.

The first Band-O-Rama was an event conceived back in the 1980s by band directors and close personal friends Bill and Sue Gottschalk and Larry and Kathy Baisdon in Lake Jackson, Texas, to help promote and highlight the public school band programs they each directed.

“Band membership requires a lot of dedication,” says Kathy Baisdon. “Students have to put in many hours of practice to learn their instrument. Additionally, parents have to make a financial commitment to purchase the instruments as well as a personal commitment to encourage and patiently listen to their child practice. We felt that the students worked very hard, yet did not receive the public recognition they deserved. So our friend, Bill Gottschalk, came up with the idea to combine our bands across the district and have a huge band festival called Band-O-Rama.”

“We wanted to give the students some personal gratification for all the work they were doing, the payoff being to know they have created something special for a large appreciative audience,” says Bill Gottschalk.

The result was an annual event that renewed excitement for band participation. More and more students got involved and the programs were strengthened. Gottschalk and Baisdon, now directors of the Pagosa Springs Symphonic Band felt that Pagosa Springs and Music Boosters offered the perfect opportunity to continue that highly successful program.

Music Boosters has long felt the need to have an organized adult volunteer band that could strengthen the bands in our Pagosa schools through adult mentoring. Last September that dream took shape in the formation of the Pagosa Springs Symphonic Band. A band advisory committee met and determined how the new band would be wed to the Music Boosters organization. Two directors were chosen to lead the new music ensemble, Larry Baisdon and Bill Gottschalk. Each felt that Music Boosters mission to, “Strengthen youth through the performing arts and adult volunteer mentorship” was in keeping with their personal desire to promote bands in the schools.

With the formation of the Pagosa Springs Symphonic Band, Gottschalk and Baisdon have found a new avenue to bring their creative ideas and enthusiasm to our Pagosa Springs schools.

“I am very excited about the amount of commitment and talent we have among our PSSB band members,” says Larry Baisdon. “Each of our members can attribute the joy they derive from their own musical abilities to the training they received in their early school years from a very committed band or orchestra director in their public or private school.”

Our public schools are very fortunate to have two very dedicated band directors, Shawna Carosello in the junior high school and Dan Burch in the high school. Both directors participate in PSSB and each has one or more advanced students who are currently playing in the new symphonic band. Glynis Tanner, a junior high school trumpet student, and her brother, Lane, a high school tuba player, both participate in the band along with Eli Velasquez, a senior high school student drummer.

Band-O-Rama will indeed be a musical feast, a festival of American music presented by some of the best musicians of Pagosa, young and old alike. Tickets will be on sale at the door for only $5 each and $15 for families. Fifth-grade beginning band students will be admitted free. Don’t miss this exciting event.

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