DMS hosts Honor Choir, Band concert

Middle school students from across southwest Wyoming participate in the 2022 Middle School Intermediate Honor Choir and Honor Band concert on Saturday, March 19, at Davis Middle School. The guest conductor for the choir was Paul Searcey of Casper, while the band was conducted by Evanston’s own Allan Dancer, who recently retired from teaching at Davis Middle School. (HERALD PHOTO/Sheila McGuire)

EVANSTON — Approximately 130 middle school students from eight schools across southwest Wyoming gathered at Davis Middle School on Saturday, March 19, for the 2022 Middle School Intermediate Honor Choir and Honor Band rehearsals and performances. Music instructors from the various schools selected students from their classes to participate based on their musical abilities, work ethic, attitude and other criteria. Participating schools included DMS and Evanston Middle School, as well as the middle schools in Lyman, Big Piney, Cokeville, Kemmerer, Pinedale and Star Valley.

Students began practicing the songs for the event several weeks ago and then headed to DMS at 9 a.m. Saturday morning to rehearse together for several hours prior to the honor concert. The honor band was conducted by retired DMS teacher Allan Dancer, who taught band at the school for 13 years prior to his retirement. The choir was conducted by Paul Searcey, who spent much of his career teaching music in Casper.

The choir took the stage first, performing “Jubilate Deo,” “One Single Light,” “Route 66,” “Bound for Glory,” and “Gratias Pro Musica,” the latter being a tune composed by guest director Searcey. The band then performed “Fireburst Fanfare,” “Simple Gifts,” “Of Distant Peaks,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Marching Down Main Street.”

In remarks to the audience, Searcey thanked parents for encouraging their children to participate in music, noting that studies have consistently shown that students who participate in music are smarter. Searcey joked that it wasn’t clear if music made students smarter or if smarter students simply chose to participate in music more often but said the connection between the two is clear. His words were echoed by Dancer, returning to the DMS stage three years after his retirement.

Uinta County choir students included Ashlee Rae, Jaylin Kennedy, Olivia McDowell, Bellatrix McGuire, Gwendolynn Jones, Kolter Roundy, Olive Woodruff, Cade Carson, Carson Stahl, Melissa Rae and Jonnali Russell from DMS; Cassandra Baker, Ellenna Sams, Kristin Gomez, Brandon Bowen, David Wynne, Violet Cook, Story Hawkins, Randi Mair, and Keara Tuilimu from EMS; and Amellia France, Marci Flint, Julia Roundy, Peyton Hadden, Rachel Van Wagoner, Natalie Nebeker, Vada Griffin, Brylan Berg and Jentz Peacock from Lyman.

Uinta County band students included Michael Jackson, Brady Schmidt, Shannon Hengesteg, Taydon Rees, Audrey Floyd, Nicole Schneider, Johari Alvarado, Gabe Swanson, Addison Shea, Seth Cockream, Stewart King, Ben Horrocks and Brailee Knudsen from DMS; Sofia Mendoza, McKinley Nielson, Camden Batt, Lee Russell, Alisia Segura, Erin Nielson, Damyen Johnson, Seth Morrow, Jaxyn Magana, Chloe Fadden, Madison Graham, Wyatt Rees, Zachary Hills, Lainey Guild and David McCoy from EMS; and Tana Williams, Gracelynn Allen, Jasper Allen, Wyatt Sorenson and Davis Staheli from Lyman.

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