Exeter band, choir debut ‘Under the Stars’

EUHS Music Department presents its first performance of the 2020-21 school year with outdoor concert at Exeter Stadium

EXETER – No aspect of high school activity was more affected by the pandemic than performing arts. Even after high school students returned to campus, began belated sports seasons and resumed state testing, choir, band and drama weren’t able to perform.

But tomorrow, after a year of practicing music virtually and just days before the end of the school year, Exeter Union High School’s musicians will gather for their first performance of the year at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 27 at Exeter Stadium. Director Kirk Clague said students are anxious to bring their talents together in front of a live audience, at a concert dubbed “Music Under the Stars.”

“The event is a way to show our community that the students of EUHS are alive and ready to reinvigorate music,” said Clague, now in his 25th year at EUHS. “I believe that music making, as we do here, activates a part of students’ minds and spirits that is not reached in other disciplines. The ‘Music Under the Stars’ will show that we are back and that we intend to be back for the future.”

Admission is free and the public is welcome to respectfully come and go as needed. Masks and social distancing required.

The stadium will be divided into two “stages” on the track, where beginning guitar students will perform in ensembles. The Concert Choir and the Chamber Singers will each present two pieces for the audience.

“The loss of togetherness was more than a social loss; our program teaches cooperation, leadership, instantaneous decision making, and self-discipline among other intangibles,” Clague said. “It just could not do that on Zoom.”

Clague will also present awards to these students, then a brief intermission will be held at 7:45 p.m.

Next, the EUHS Marching Band and Colorguard will inject spirit and enthusiasm into the crowd by parading in on the track, marching in time to the aptly named “Covid Beats” cadence and then will play the “American Legion March” and the EUHS Fight Song.

Students playing wind instruments will be wearing specially designed masks and bell covers which catch any air particles dispelled as they play.

Front ensemble members, who play mallet instruments such as vibraphone and marimba, will perform “Asante,” an African children’s melody, and then the entire band will come together to present a visual show on the field.

Similar to a halftime show, the students will display marching skills learned during weekly cohorts in spring semester.

Awards will be presented to band members and the entire evening will conclude by 8:30 p.m.

The public is encouraged to attend, not only to enjoy a rare live music event, but to encourage these students in their musical endeavors.

“I invite the public because I know the kids would appreciate knowing that they are noticed in our community,” Clague said. “I’d like to have the people of Exeter help me rebuild these kids’ confidence, and I think there is a certain happiness in seeing and hearing kids make music for anyone who comes. Will the music be perfect? Probably not! But will it be enthusiastically presented? Oh yes! People should see and share that enthusiasm!”

This article was submitted by EUHS Music Boosters.

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