River to Rhythm: Band Concert at SIUC

Southern Illinois Bands travel “River to River” to the SIU School of Music


Photography, Missy Jackson

Southern Illinois band students from eleven different high schools sit proudly before their long-awaited band concert.

On February 1st, randomly selected band students had started working hard for this year’s River to River band conference. On Monday, February 28, many students woke up as early as 5:00 am to start getting ready for their performances.


After Christmas break, band director, Mr. Lewis, selected the names of juniors and seniors from each section to be nominated for the River to River conference at SIU. Band directors in high schools from all over Southern Illinois are placed in alphabetical order, and each year they go down this list in which school gets to randomly select the students. 


This year’s selector was Pinckneyville. The students selected were Jarret Colman (senior, drums), Nathan Abba (junior, saxophone), Ally Hancock (junior, flute), Dylan Felty (senior , bass clarinet), Tyler Yeager (senior, tenor saxophone), Owen Smith (junior, Trombone), Tyler Worthen (senior, guitar), Amaris Williams (senior, percussion), Paige Hennessey (senior, saxophone), Tyler Thetford (senior, clarinet), and Kali Lamaster (senior, clarinet). 


Starting at 8:00 am, the students had to prepare for a hard working day ahead of them entirely dedicated to music. Students ranging from Anna Jonesboro to West Frankfort had been mixed together to play as one big band. 


They were given the whole day to practice playing their music with the band conductors, and a lunch break in the middle of the day. At the end of the day, after all of the students had perfected the music, the band put on a concert for everyone to see the hard work that they had been practicing.


For students planning on pursuing music in their future, this is a great opportunity to see SIU and play with professional music majors firsthand. While this is many student’s first ever time going to SIU, some students also have the opportunity of going twice. Tyler Thetford (senior), who had gone to the River to River band conference both his junior and senior year said, “I think it really showed what my future holds and how I still have a long way to go as a music major.” With weeks of practicing and hard work and determination. It was an excellent experience with new friends made and openings for a lot of musical careers.