Students bring passion for music to Hastings College Honor Band

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB)- Music is in the air in Hastings as a very special band prepares for a big performance this weekend. The Hastings College Honor Band features the best high school players in the region and is a decades long tradition.

Students from around the region shared their love for music as they practiced to be part of the elite Hastings College Honor Band. (KSNB)

From the flow of the melody to the technical keys, the students are putting their skills to the test. But it's more than work to them, for some it is creating a masterpiece.

“Everybody has to be not just reading the notes and rhythms but really paying attention to the motions around them and you can really communicate through your emotions,” Lincoln Southeast High School Junior Matea Jerkovic said. “I can suggest a musical idea to the person sitting next to me and they can follow that crescendo or diminuendo.”

Matea has been playing clarinet for seven years, and she is among students from 39 different highschools in the region in the honor band. She is passionate about the language of music.

“Band kids you can spot them a mile away because they ooze passion for what they do,” Chair of the Department of Music and Theater, Louie Eckhardt said,

The conductor is from Penn State University. He challenges the students to master the difficult music and make it blend together. The Honor Band has been coming together in Nebraska for decades. Not every one of these students will go on to a music career, but instructors hope they carry music with them for the rest of their lives.

“It's not about being the best player. It's never about being the best player. What it is, it's about an artistic expression and being a part of something,” Eckhardt said.

After days of hard work they perform Saturday with a string orchestra and choir. It's usually in front of a packed house of family members and anyone who loves music.

“Really just these huge flourishes of sound and it's amazing,” Matea said.

The series of intense practices continues through Friday and into Saturday morning with the big performance at 3pm in the Kiewit building.