Central hosts annual Southside Band Festival

Jasmine Zhang, Correspondent

Naperville Central hosted the annual Southside Band Festival on Nov. 9 in order to increase interest in high school band enrollment among junior high students. This concert was one of the two performances that the Wind Ensemble, Central’s top-level curricular band, had put on in the same week. At this concert, unlike the first one, junior high bands that feed into Central were present and participated.

The eighth grade bands from Kennedy Junior High, Madison Junior High and Lincoln Junior High all performed before Wind Ensemble did.

“It’s [an] opportunity for us to share making music, it is an opportunity for students to learn what Naperville Central band has to offer, and it’s also an opportunity for parents to get a look at what the course offerings are,” band director DJ Alstadt, said.

Central has a wide variety of musical offerings for these young band students, from chamber ensembles to steel pan bands. Alstadt also mentioned that he personally calls each of the band students’ families, offering to answer any questions they may have.

The high school students in Wind Ensemble are responsible for being role models for the younger students, hoping to encourage them to continue band in high school. Many of them saw the concert as an opportunity to interact with them.

“[Our performance] showed eighth-graders what they can be,” Wind Ensemble flutist Emily Gray said.

Gray pointed out that the middle schoolers have a lot of room for improvement, as they are still lacking many skills that can be learned in high school.  

“There’s just a huge difference in musicality and stage etiquette”, commented Gray.

This performance also brought back memories for Gray. Four years ago, Gray was one of those middle school students, experiencing the potential of high school band for the first time.

“It’s strange to be on the different end of the performance,” Gray said.

Like Gray, Alstadt emphasized the significance of the concert and the message it conveyed to junior high students.

“[The concert] was just about the humanity of the experience […] the connection that people have through music,” Alstadt said.