Ariz. - The Hopi High band, guitar class, jazz and percussion groups
have been drawing attention from throughout the northland.
Hopi High music students performed at
the Grand Canyon Guitar Society Festival at the Coconino Center
for the Arts in Flagstaff.
Hopi High music teacher Thomas Irwin helped
get this festival off the ground along with Craig Yarborough from
the GCGS because there hadn't been any festivals like this in northern
Arizona for a while.
Schools from throughout the state were
invited and about 10 schools attended.
Adam delMonte, a world renowned flamenco
and classical guitarist, gave a performance before giving a clinic
to the students with pointers on how to play flamenco music. He
is the third world-renowned guitarist the Hopi High guitar students
worked with this year. They previously performed with Flavio Cuchie
and Florian LaRousee at the Coconino Center for the Arts.
The 13-member ensemble performed at the
GCGS. The ensemble received the superior rating. Xavier Sakeva received
the top award. Brandon Barton and Calvin Lomayestea also received
"It was a lot of pressure and they
did well," Irwin said.
The Hopi High band also performed at the
Reservation Music Festival in Kayenta. A half dozen schools performed.
The Red House Family Band performed jazz and served as judges. This
Navajo family is from Teec Nos Pos, but grew up in San Francisco,
which is known for its jazz.
The Hopi High concert band, jazz band
and jazz ensemble all received superior ratings from the Red House
Family Band judges.
"This was a good experience,"
Irwin said. "The Red House Family Band was phenomenal."
The Hopi High music group performed its
end of the year concert May 16 in the cafeteria. The auditorium
was not available because it's being renovated.
Irwin said the cafeteria is a difficult
venue because there was a problem with some of the band members
hearing the others. He said the jazz and percussion bands performed
"It was well attended and it was
nice to have the audience so close. That meant there was more interaction,"
The percussion section played a reggae
song, "The Cay." They also played a drum song called "Jungle
Bang" that had everybody moving to the beat.
"The parents were excited,"
he said about the concert.
Irwin said the curriculum will stay the
same next year, but a marching band might be added.