Band and choir wow crowd

Band and choir wow crowd

Band and choir wow crowd

The Battle Mountain High School (BMHS) band and choir held the first concert of the school year in the high school gym. Students in the group wowed and entertained guests with renditions of some classic holiday music.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, music teacher John Gist proudly introduced his students in the band and choir. The band consisted of 25 students and guest oboe player Anita Hampe. The choir added another 16 students to the concert.

“A small school program is different than any other thing in the world because you have kids that do everything. That is what’s great with small schools, but you have to find a way to fit it in along with everything else they do. These aren’t just band and choir kids. They are band, choir, basketball, wrestling and FFA (Future Farmers of America) kids,” explained Gist after the concert. “We have to get a lot done in rehearsal.”

Gist mentioned that the school received the Hughes and Jones Music Fund Grant this year, which helped bring a new instrument to the music program. Using the grant money, Gist was able to purchase a large chime instrument. During the concert, the chimes were featured in the holiday songs. Battle Mountain’s music program can apply for the grant every other year, but is not guaranteed to be selected by Hughes and Jones.

“The grant comes around to rural Nevada schools every other year, and I have purchased close to $10,000 worth of instruments in the last four years with that grant,” explained Gist, “It is a competitive grant and we have to state our case to deserve it. It’s a building process, but we are gaining our goals.”

With the new instruments and energy in the music program at the high school, Gist mentioned how crucial it is for the band to perform well during sporting events.

“There is a handful of kids in these groups, where music is the reason why they come to school. Most of the people in the community will judge the music program at the school by how the national anthem’s played at a ball game,” Gist said, “In a small program like this, the most important thing is to fix the pep band first because more people will go to a basketball game than this concert tonight.”

Although the grandstands on Wednesday were full of friends and family attending the free concert, those numbers will likely double during the weekend basketball games. Gist and the choir even led the crowd in singing Merry Christmas and Silent Night before opening the doors of the gym back to the varsity basketball team for practice.

“The band did a great job, but the choir blew me away. Both groups sound great and have gotten a lot better,” stated concert audience member Devin Huhta. Gist informed the crowd that this might be the largest group of students to return to the music program since he has been at BMHS.