Honors band

Music students play in Ohio honors band

For Bluffton University students who performed in the Ohio Private College Instrumental Conductors Association honors band on Feb. 2, the setting, the music and the musicians combined to create a memorable experience.

Representing Bluffton at the OPCICA honors festival closing concert in Cleveland’s Severance Hall were Bethany Babcock and Samuel Black, both from Deshler, Ohio; Aaron Johnson, a first-year student from Goshen, Ind.; and Brittney Ries, a sophomore from Freeman, S.D. They rehearsed with the honors band for two days before the performance.

This was the second year in the band for Babcock, a junior majoring in music education. “I had a great time my first year and decided to do it again this year,” the flutist said. “How could I pass up a chance to play in one of the world’s best performance halls?”

“I loved playing in such a large ensemble,” Black said. The tuba player, a first-year student at Bluffton, was one of 96 musicians in the concert band. “We also played some of the most difficult, rewarding and fun music I have ever played,” he added.

After an exhausting weekend of travel, practice and performance, the two musicians reflected on their participation with gratitude.

“It was an amazing experience,” Black said. “Every layer of sound is so well annunciated in that hall.”

Babcock was grateful for both the opportunity to play in Severance Hall and to network. “As a music major, this was a great experience to connect with other musicians and directors,” she said.

Dr. Roy Couch, visiting assistant professor of music at Bluffton, nominated and led the university contingent. “It was a terrific event, very well-run and an amazing musical experience for our young musicians,” he said.