Weekly Feature

2018-02-08 / Education

Schools will welcome Central alumnus for yearly band festival


Once again, three Cheektowaga high school bands will come together for a joint concert during their annual High School Band Festival.

The festival, first held in its current configuration two years ago, will feature the Cheektowaga Central, Cheektowaga-Sloan and Cleveland Hill bands. Each year, a guest conductor is invited, and for next week’s concert, that job falls to Ryan Scherber, a 2002 Central alumnus and faculty member at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Scherber will hold three, one-hour clinics with each band before the concert, and each band is working on two pieces, one of which Scherber will conduct. During the sessions, he’ll be working with the students on their full repertoire and imparting some advice, and he’s looking forward to the visit.

“I haven’t really had a chance to hear the groups since I graduated, for any of the three schools, so I’m looking forward to getting back in the area, giving back to the community where my parents still live and just hearing the groups,” said Scherber, who is an assistant professor of music education and director of bands at Case Western Reserve.

Shawn Rydzik, Central’s band director, said Scherber’s visit would be a benefit to the young musicians, even if they don’t pursue further education or a career in the field.

“I think the biggest thing is to say, ‘Hey, here’s a kid just like you and me ... from the Town of Cheektowaga, grew up in the same school district, did the same things ... and look at this guy. He’s at the top of his field. He’s a professor, he’s got a doctorate, he teaches at the college,’” Rydzik said. “Those jobs are few and far between in the music world.”

In addition to the two pieces each band will perform on their own, all three bands will join together — the 200-musician “heavy metal band,” Rydzik joked — for a finale.

The concert, which is free to attend, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at Cheektowaga Central’s E.J. Boggan Auditorium, 3600 Union Road. There will be a 50/50 split club raffle and auction baskets to help offset the costs, Rydzik said.

email: bjackson@beenews.com

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