Contra Bass Clarinet
John Robert Adams
Rainer, President; Morales, Librarian; Armada; Secretary; Gomez, Vice-Presdent
Chris Morales - Librarian, Johnathan Gomez - Vice-President, Chapel Rainer - President, Ethan Armada - Secretary
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Historic achievements are what defined the school year for the 2021-2022 band members. Nothing about the school year can be forgotten, as the school year kicked off the celebration for the CBHS 150th anniversary. From new traditions, to revisiting old ones, and every achievement in between; the year will be remembered forever.
The academic school year was launched by a new tradition founded by the class of 2022. For the first time in Christian Brother’s history, the seniors played for their own ring mass. While the mass was not intended to turn out this way, Covid-19 guidelines dismissed the tradition of underclassmen performing for the seniors.
The CBHS Pep Band kicked things off this year, performing at all the Football Games and several Basketball Games in the new Field House.
The following fall concert was no exception for performances to be remembered forever. The piece selection, as always, was important, but it was to be put on a pedestal, as this year followed the school’s 150th anniversary. The concert featured pieces in celebration of Franz Schubert’s and Michael Praetourius’ birthdays. In Schubert’s honor, the band played Marche Miitaire, and A Praetorius Hymn as a tribute to Preatorius. The fall concert was a premier performance for Balfour Overture, an old, newly discovered piece written by Jack and Ralph Hale. In C was played in remembrance of John Hassle, who was an innovative trumpet player who attended Christian Brothers and played in the band. The band also played Mexican Folk Fantasy in honor of Mexico’s 200th year of independence from Spain. Mexican Folk Fantasy was initially a difficult piece to master, but the band persisted. The solo pieces were no exception to how momentous the year was. The first solo was played by the Band president, and four time all-state player, Chapel Rainer. Chapel Rainer was the first student to play his solo, titled Blue Bell’s of Scotland. Chapel’s performance was highly characterized by his desire to play this solo piece since his freshman year. The second solo titled, Rondo by Carl Maria von Weber, was played by the band Vice-President and All-State player, Johnathan Gomez. This was the first time in history that the Christian Brothers Band had a bassoon soloist. Despite starting as a beginner his freshman year, and initially despising the bassoon, his performance displayed his ever-growing passion as a player.
The spring launched the 150th Anniversary tour, a tour designed for the students to visit their founder’s roots while playing in new territories. The tour began in Memphis on Thursday, March 10th, at West Collierville Middle School for the WTSBOA Concert Festival. The band performed The Liberty Bell March by John Philip Sousa and To You America! by William Grant Still. The band entered as a Grade 5 and achieved superior ratings, all while making the notes transcend the page. Amidst a snowstorm at the crack of dawn, on the following Saturday, the band departed from the Memphis airport to the Ronald Raegan airport in Arlington, Virginia. Upon landing, the band did not hesitate to appear at the Congressional Cemetery, where John Philip Sousa and Herbert Clarke are both buried. There, the band held their first performance of the trip.
The following morning the band attended Sunday Mass in the Crypt of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The next stop was an early performance at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where the band performed for a large crowd. The band played Hail to the Spirit of Freedom by W.C. Handy, the “father of the blues”. Performing this piece was a fine choice as it was written for the Lincoln Jubilee in 1915, which celebrated 50 years of emancipation for formerly enslaved African Americans. The band also performed Hail to the Chief in honor of Lincoln and Prof. Paul Schneider. Following this memorable performance, the band visited the Union Station, where they had lunch and encountered an orchestra. After enjoying the orchestral performance, the band followed, where the music reverberated throughout the main hall. In the afternoon, the band visited the National Portrait Gallery. The band took pictures with the Portraits of President Grover Cleveland and Richard Nixon, both of whom the band has performed for.
On Monday, the band did not perform, but toured Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Steps, and the White House. That evening the band attended the opera, Cosi fan Tutti by Mozart, at the Kennedy Center.
On Tuesday, the students traveled to Lancaster, where the seniors performed at St. Mary of the Assumption Church, where Br. Maurelian, the band founder, was baptized.
The seniors-only ensemble performed the CBHS Anthem, Bless this House, followed by Home, Sweet Home, particularly because it is the original Christian Brothers school song. Before leaving for Philadelphia, the band ate lunch at the oldest Market in America, the Central Market. Upon arrival in Philadelphia, the band performed at the Liberty Bell Center, and took pictures in front of the Liberty Bell itself and at Independence Hall. This performance was in honor of Br. Maurelian who would take the students of Christian Brothers College to visit and take pictures with the Liberty Bell. The band performed The Liberty Bell March for the occasion. After a quick stop to see Benjamin Franklin's grave, the band took a formal picture on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art before eating cheesesteaks and checking into their hotel.
Wednesday would mark the band's final performances of the tour. That morning the band crossed the river into New Jersey and performed on the U.S.S. New Jersey Battleship. The sounds of The Star Spangled Banner, arranged by John Williams, boomed under the cannons of the most decorated battleship in the navy. The band had lunch at the Reading Terminal Station in Philadelphia, just before traveling to Wilmington. In Wilmington, the boys performed at the Old Swedes Historical Site, home of the third oldest church in America. Following a tour of the church grounds, the band traveled to Baltimore. Upon their arrival, the boys explored the Baltimore Harbor and sat down for lunch. The band ended their streak of tour performances by playing alongside the Calvert Hall Jazz band, which is the oldest Christian Brothers school in America.
On the last day of the trip the band attended a traditional Latin Mass at St. Alphonsus church. Across the street was St. Alphonsus Catholic School where Br. Maurelian attended and was first introduced to the Christian Brothers. Following the mass, the boys enjoyed a lesson from the priest of the church’s timeline. The band was able to see how the building still stands, decades following the school’s founding. The final stop of the tour was a visit to Fort McHenry, the battle site of the war of 1812. The boys learned about the true meaning of The Star Spangled Banner. After their tour of Baltimore, the band returned to Washington D.C. for their flight back to Memphis. The trip left the boys with a sense of belonging to Christian Brothers and American history forever.
Despite the yearlong demands from the 150th Anniversary tour, the Historic and Jazz band had a stupendous year as well. In November, the Historic band performed for the Veterans Day parade at court square in Hernando Mississippi. Just a few days later, the Historic band played for the massing of the colors at the church of the holy communion.
The jazz band spent the year representing Christian Brothers all over the city. The group played at many middle schools, and even at school events for donors and Alumni. The jazz band had dedicated concerts for the ensemble, one of which was side by side with the Choir. Mr.Womack, the jazz band director, pushed the students at the jazz festival, where they were judged for their playing ability. The countless performances birthed many new solosists which include Christian Montiel, Vincent Bomprezzi, Ethan Armada, and Johnathan Gomez on saxophone. The frequent trumpet solos from Justin Bowers were the ultimate tool to gather attention at any event. Mr. Womack’s favorite recruitment strategy was pointing out how many members of the group who were beginners, and even instrument doublers like Hunter Tice. The boys also played gigs for pure enjoyment, such as for the Day of The Dead Parade at Overton Park. The finale of the Jazz band would have been the Spring Concert, but the school asked the band to return one last time for the Taste of CBHS. The jazz band had a momentous year entertaining the city of Memphis.
The band’s achievements were not limited to the premises of the school. 34 Members of the band made all west, and 6 made all-state. The all west band members made memories together in downtown Memphis, eating dinner and spending the weekend together. The All-West concert had an intermission for awards, where former band director, Mike Krepper, was inducted into the WTSBOA Hall of Fame. The All-state band members had a trip to Nashville, where the boys enjoyed making memories at the Gaylord Opry Resort. Christian Brothers Band members made other ensembles as well. Not only did the band have members in the Youth Symphony Orchestra, but two made governor’s school.
The school year was made complete with the spring concert, where the band revisited pieces from the trip and added new ones. Pushing through unforeseen schedule changes, the band added English Folk Song Suite by Ralph Vaughn Williams, and Cenotaph by Jack Stamp, which the concert was titled after. Among every memorable event, the band will never forget Andrew Rainer, trombonist and class of 2018, who passed away this year. Andrew Rainer will live in the band’s heart, forever.
Band Vice-President '22