Oroville Music Program treats community to a free concert at the Grange

Oroville Grange hosted a free concert for the community made up of musicians from the Oroville Elementary, Middle and High School

By Byran Zeski | Special to the GT

OROVILLE — On Thursday, April 18, the Oroville Grange hosted a free concert for the community led by Oroville Music Director Valerie Coolidge and made up of musicians from the Oroville Elementary, Middle and High School. The event was a showcase of the award-winning pieces that the Oroville Music Program has been putting on across the state for the past school year.

Opening the show was an up-and-coming local band, the “Broken Strings,” mentored by elementary school teacher Todd Matthews and fronted by lead-vocalist Cash Duarte with Oroville 7th-grade student Sadie Scott and 8th-grade student Aaden McNair on guitar and back-up vocals. Throughout three songs, the band had the crowd tapping their feet, clapping their hands, and resisting the urge to sing along to familiar chorus lines. At the end of their final song, “Brown Eyed Girl,” the band was met with applause and a standing ovation.

Throughout the evening, the audience was treated to performances by the Oroville Junior High Band with Alison Hamilton on Clarinet, Jose Nemecio on the Alto Saxophone, Jon Hart on the Tenor Saxophone, Lillyan McNeil on the trumpet, Jayden Davis on the trombone and Kai Garcia and Kadin Graf rounding off the percussion section. Over the past few months, the Junior High Band has received “Superior” ratings at regional interscholastic contests and has consistently improved and expanded their capabilities over the course of the school year.

Singing short one vocalist, the high school choir still rose to the occasion and performed three uplifting songs that highlighted their range of vocal skills. Gracy McNeil, Amara Hayworth, Anna Quezada and Lydia Thompson delighted the crowd and were met with great applause.

The senior high school band consisted of Steven Brand on the alto saxophone, Ezekiel Pruett on the tenor saxophone, Kwani Harding on the baritone saxophone and featured Kevin Barnhart and Antonio Savoia in the percussion section. They treated the Grange to classical music including “Dance of the Shadows” and “Byzantine Dances.” Steven Brand also treated the audience to two saxophone solos, showcasing the talent and dedication that has earned him praise and accolades from across the state this year. The high-school band also received “Superior” ratings for their recent regional contests and were described as having “entranced” the adjudicators during their competitive performances.

As the school year and competitions reach their culmination in the coming weeks, the Oroville Schools Music Program will send some young musicians on to state-level competitions and will continue to put Oroville on the map as an interscholastic musical powerhouse under the tutelage and leadership of Director Coolidge.