FIU Festival of Bands honors Black History Month

Miami Northwestern High School ready to perform at the 2019 FIU Festival of Bands.

Maria Lago/Contributing Writer

The FIU Festival of Bands returned for its eleventh year in a row on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center.

Directed by FIU Director of Instrumental Conducting Brenton Alston, this year’s festival featured four Florida high school bands, the FIU Wind Ensemble and special guest gospel group Psalm 150 from Atlanta, Georgia, in honor of Black History Month.

The first bands to present were from Miami Northwestern Senior High School, Booker T. Washington High School and two bands directed by Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School. The students had the opportunity to perform in the concert hall and receive feedback from Alston and the director of bands at FIU, Barry Bernhardt, after they performed.

“We are very excited about hosting area band programs on our campus as we work together to strengthen area band programs. This is the 11th year that we have hosted the event and it continues to serve the local high school bands and build a stronger sense of community,” said Bernhardt.

Alston said that this event is like a “trial run” for young musicians so they can practice their music in an academic environment and learn more about FIU’s music program.

At 7:30 p.m., Psalm 150, which was under the direction of Reverend Lee Franklin, performed, followed by the FIU WInd Ensemble. The Atlanta group was really well-received and energetic, according to Alston. FIU Wind Ensemble performed after them, and both performances were “touching,” with three standing ovations, said Alston.

According FIU Music’s official website, Psalm 150 featured “a tribute to nine beautiful souls who lost their lives to a callous act of hatred and domestic terrorism on the evening of June 17, 2015 while worshipping in their beloved sanctuary, the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (affectionately referred to as “Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina.

For more information about the FIU Festival of Bands upcoming events, please check:

Featured photo by Maria Lago.

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