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Olivet College Wind Ensemble.

Each fall, Olivet College welcomes high school students from across the state for its annual High School Honor Band. The Honor Band is an ensemble comprised of some of the state’s best high school instrumentalists. This year, OC will welcome the largest Honor Band in school history with 110 students from 34 high schools coming together to learn about life as a Comet on Nov. 10. Nominated by their high school band directors, students spend the day in rehearsal and sectionals working with music faculty and students, experiencing first-hand what it is like to be an Olivet music student. The day’s work culminates in a concert, joined by the Olivet College Wind Ensemble.

Jeremy Duby, director of bands at OC, couldn’t be more excited to share his passion for music with so many students. “The Honor Band is a program which highlights students from multiple programs, and shares different performance, rehearsal and advocacy standards,” he said.

“It enables students to see how other schools rehearse and perform, and how similar collegiate level rehearsing compares to what they are already experiencing. Music is an art where students who don’t know each other prior to this day are able to come together, communicate and perform new music as one ensemble. It is also a testament to the great teaching happening in our schools throughout this state, and it shows visiting students what it is like to not only be a college music student for a day, but more importantly, an Olivet Comet for a day!”

In 2015, current drum major Abigale Smith, pictured with Director Duby, was experiencing the Honor Band as a high school student.

A few years ago, current drum major Abigale Smith was experiencing Olivet College for her first time through the Honor Band. Now, she describes the OC band as a support system so strong she calls fellow Marching Comets her family. Not to mention, her role as drum major has given her an incredible outlet to develop her leadership skills.

“Honor Band has definitely come full circle for me! When I came to Honor Band my senior year it was the first time I ever visited Olivet, and it’s also one of the biggest factors which led me to my decision to attend college here,” Abigale explained. “Going from a student performing in the Honor Band ensemble two years ago to a member of the band program now is sincerely a unique and unparalleled experience. It just goes to show the impact Olivet can have on the lives of students in such a short period of time.”

While the Honor Band is designed to share a true college experience with high school students, Abigale also recognizes the positive impact it has on current Comets. The twofold experience introduces high school students to college and gives them the tools to make an informed college decision, while OC students are given the opportunity to serve as mentors, answering questions and helping others learn from their own unique experiences.

“Attending college can be a nerve wracking decision, and having the opportunity to encourage students to attend college and ease any concerns they may have is very rewarding,” Abigale added. “Even if these students decide to attend a different college, the idea that we may have been able to help them take that next step is a great feeling. I think it’s extremely important for Olivet to continue providing these opportunities to high school students because it allows them a chance to see what college life is really like. They get to meet professors and students, as well as explore campus. They’re no longer looking at the college on paper, they’re experiencing it firsthand. That’s what helped me take the leap to attend OC – and I’m so happy I did.”

In addition to specialized rehearsals, students in the Honor Band will also have the opportunity to tour campus and dine in the Kirk Center to dive deeper into student life and academics. Students are also able to take their new musical experiences back to their high school band rooms to share with their peers. Further, a special admissions and financial aid presentation to learn more about Olivet’s scholarships and other resources to help make college affordable is available for parents.

The OC Honor Band and Wind Ensemble Concert will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10 in the Upton Gymnasium. Musical selections include “El Relicario” by Jose Padilla, arr. Robert Longfield, “Paper Cut” by Alex Shapiro, and “The Thunder and the Roar” by Pierre LaPlante. The concert is free and open to the public.

“The band will perform a wide variety of music, including a piece for wind ensemble and electronics, where cutting edge soundscapes will blend in with the band’s music, pumped out of huge subwoofers! Many smaller programs at the high school level simply don’t have the resources or time to invest in these types of musical experiences,” explained Kramer Milan, an adjunct instructor who teaches special music classes and leads the Marching Comets drumline. “We’re giving prospective students the type of experience that is impossible to forget. The impact these students feel throughout the day will be more than enough for them to realize that an education at Olivet is on the horizon.”

Learn more about performing arts opportunities at Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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