An evening of music - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

An evening of music

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Posted: Monday, February 14, 2011 2:00 pm | Updated: 5:18 pm, Mon Nov 5, 2012.

Two local groups of musicians will take the stage together next week for an evening concert that will not only raise funds, but also encourage young musicians to keep playing after they leave school.

Mountain Pointe High School's wind ensemble and the Ahwatukee Foothills Concert Band (AFCB) will perform together at the MPHS auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 17.

A coin drive sponsored by MidFirst Bank will be on-site to collect spare change from concert attendees.

If the event raises $1,000, MidFirst Bank will match it coin for coin, the total amount of proceeds will then be split in half for both bands.

AFCB director Brendan Anderson said that as an organization that wants to further music in the community, there is nothing more exciting than to encourage young musicians.

"We can all see a little bit of our past selves in the musical aspirations of the students at MPHS," said Anderson, who has been director of the AFCB for four years.

AFCB members are between the ages of 18 and 85, some are war veterans, parents, and even MPHS alumni, all sharing a love for music.

"We hope to instill the idea that playing music is full of lifelong rewards," Anderson said.

Joshua Hartgrove, director of bands and orchestra at MPHS for the past three years, aims to reflect America's culture by showcasing the tradition of band literature at the concert.

Songs from both bands will include "His Honor" and "America the Beautiful," where the crowd will be asked to sing along.

Hartgrove said that about 50 years ago, bands were not affiliated with schools; it was all within the community.

"We want to remind our (student) players and community of that tradition," he said.

The AFCB, a non-profit concert band that has 50 to 60 local members, will perform a set separately and then a few numbers with the wind ensemble.

Booster member, AFCB member, and mother of a student musician in the high school's wind ensemble, Rozanne Janacek said the importance of students getting the opportunity to perform this kind of collaborative concert is huge.

"This brings a new audience to the high school that they haven't had," Janacek said, adding that it shows students that music playing doesn't have to stop when they graduate.

Currently, MPHS is working on a new project in 2012 called School Year After Next, which will be the tentative opening of a fine arts academy within the high school. Visual arts, dance and music will make up the four-year curriculum-based academy to give students a platform of preparation to study the arts after high school.

Hartgrove said it is another way to reinvigorate the heritage of music.

Janacek's daughter, Victoria, 17, plays flute in the MPHS wind ensemble and said performing with her mom will be exciting.

"I've heard the (concert band) play several times, and I think it's going to be very cool," Victoria said before a recent practice with her fellow ensemble members.

The Feb. 17 concert begins at 7 p.m. at MPHS auditorium, 4201 E. Knox Road. The auditorium doors will open at 6:45 p.m. Admission is $5 and children under age 5 are free. For more information, contact Hartgrove at (480) 759-6111.

Diana Martinez is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.

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