City Bands Host Senior Recognition and Concert

Estelle Hartz, Assistant A&E Editor

May 3rd was a very eventful night for City High’s band department. Families and friends gathered in Opstad Auditorium to congratulate and wish the graduating seniors well, as they will be leaving City at the end of the month. During the senior recognition before the concert, seniors went on to thank Mr. Kowbel and Mr. Ottmar, City’s band directors, for their support and dedication to them over their high school careers. 

“This is a special group for sure. They have been with me since the 8th grade (when I was at Southeast Junior High with them), and they have established themselves as some of the best leaders and people we’ve seen come through the program. I am sad to see them go. They are a wonderful and unique class that will be missed,” Kowbel said.

After the freshman concert band played, Mr. Kowbel spoke to the audience about the group’s accomplishments this year, and about how excited he is for the upcoming year. 

“I think the band concert was awesome,” Kowbel said. “The hard work that all three of the bands put in was on display, and I am proud of the type of music we are able to perform here at City High. It was wonderful!” 

Following the concert band, Symphony band performed several songs that left the audience in awe, including a piece called Metamorphic Dances (2020) written by Brian Balmanges. Metamorphic Dances is based on traditional dances that have gone through transformation. 

“We performed 3 pieces, and we worked so hard on them. We hit a wall with our musicality a couple weeks before the concert, but Ottmar reminded us of how important music can be,” Nat Flack ‘25 said. “Our last piece, Metamorphic Dances, was definitely the hardest piece I’ve ever played. The different movements were a learning curve and Ottmar really challenged the woodwind section with our 2nd and 4th movements. It might have been hard, but it was so fun and definitely worth the struggle it took to learn it. The concert overall was beautiful.”

Wind ensemble performed Angels In the Architecture (2009) by Frank Ticheli. This was accompanied by a treble singer who stood in one of the windows beside the stage. Angels in the Architecture is inspired by the Sydney Opera house, and begins with a voice singing a 19th century shaker song. It ends just as it began with the angel singing her comforting words. 

“Wind Ensemble blew me away with Angels in the Architecture,” Flack said. “The soprano soloist was absolutely haunting in the best way possible, and it’s safe to say that it’s one of the most beautiful and impressive pieces I’ve ever heard at a City High concert.”