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Silver Bay band debuts student-authored music piece

The Silver Bay Senior High band practices under the direction of Kris Peterson. News-Chronicle file photo.

The Silver Bay Senior High band will be debuting a student-written piece that encompasses what it's like to live in Silver Bay.

The piece is called "Ballad of the Bay" and was written by the students with the help of composer Bradley Bombardier, a musician who performs in the Duluth Symphony and is a woodwind instructor at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

"He talked to them about the history of Silver Bay and how the song would sound at each point along the timeline," said Silver Bay band director Kris Peterson. "He had them each write four measures."

Peterson said the students were able to work on their measures in class and outside of class. Some did just the four measures and other went all out and did even more, she said.

"He came back and asked the students to play their four measures for him," Peterson said. "One of the flutists who played for him, he loved her melody so much that it opens the piece."

According to Peterson, Bombardier took all the melodies that the student wrote and over composed the final piece over Christmas break. When the students came back in January, they had their final piece.

"It really sounds like a band piece. It really makes sense," Peterson said. "Also, in my score it has all the kids' names over the melody they created."

Peterson said one the best parts about this is that the piece will be in the bands library for years and years, and anyone who plays it years from now will know the names of all those students.

"If they come back with their kids, they'll be able to pull it out and show them exactly what they wrote, and I just think that's great," she said.

The composition of this piece was done as part of the Arts Integrations Project that that William Kelley High School received from Perpich Center for Arts Education. The grant was designated to be used to create a new curriculum that combines academics and the arts in a way that will help increase learning, heighten student interest and build community in their schools.

The second part of this project was having the art student create a piece of art based on the song, so once the band had the piece, the arts students came to listen to it. Visual arts teacher for WKHS, Lisa Malcomb, recorded it and it's all they've been listening to since February.

The art will be displayed at the spring concert for people to see before and after hearing "Ballad of the Bay." The concert, including choir performances, is May 11 at 7 p.m. in the WKHS auditorium with a reception to follow.

Also in the Silver Bay music program, the 6th grade band and choir and the junior high band and choir will perform at the auditorium at 7 p.m. on May 4. On May 19 at 6:30 p.m., small groups and soloists from the WKHS will play in the cafeteria for a pie and coffeehouse performance.

Adelle Whitefoot

Adelle Whitefoot is a Michigan native who moved to Minnesota in Sept. 2014 when she started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., in 2012 with a bachelor's in English writing and has been a professional photographer since 2011. Whitefoot is the night general assignments reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

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