The Fond du Lac High School Summer Band will take the stage for their second Buttermilk Festival performance in a joint concert with the GHO Symphonic Band from Germany on Wednesday, July 19. The free program at Buttermilk Creek Park will begin at 7:15 p.m.
Under the direction of Chris Barnes and Matt McVeigh, the FHS Summer Band is comprised of high school students through all grade levels. The group provides continuity in the high school curriculum over the summer months and allows for an opportunity for students to perform throughout the calendar year.
The Summer Band is a direct offshoot of the High School Band Program. The band program at Fond du Lac High School enrolls 230 students. All students participate in one of the three concert ensembles and have the opportunity to perform in numerous co-curricular groups. These groups include three jazz bands and the 120 member Fondy Marching Cardinals.
The Fondy Band’s program will include music from the standard band repertoire as well as some popular music selections programmed to get the crowd on their feet. The GHO Symphonic Band will perform after the FHS group, followed by two selections by the combined, massed band to close the concert.
The GHO Symphonic Band is affiliated with the Gymnasium Heide-Ost (GHO) high school in Northern Germany. With its remarkable repertoire of musical styles and vibrant sound, the GHO Band has earned high ratings in various competitions. Whether at school performances, on tour or in contests, the band always delights its audiences with programs that are both sophisticated and entertaining. Their tour program theme this year is “Adventure” and includes music from films and opera, original compositions by young German composers, pop music and a march or two.
Music Director Matthias Heidenreich completed music studies in Berlin before moving to Heide (Schleswig-Holstein) in 1998 to teach at the high school “Gymnasium Heide-Ost.” He implemented band classes in 2002 and organized the band four years later. Since 2005 he has been a lecturer for Yamaha and teaches methods to other school band directors.
Dedicated to promoting peace and understanding through the universal language of the arts, the Blue Lake International Exchange Program began in 1969 when a 90-voice choir toured England, Belgium, and Germany. Since then, over 10,000 high school musicians have been hosted and housed in 650 communities in England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Hungary, and Liechtenstein. In return nearly 10,000 members of 550 European bands, orchestras, choirs and dance groups have toured in communities throughout Michigan and the Midwest.
The GHO Symphonic Band is the eighth Blue Lake group to visit Fond du Lac since 2008. Sponsored by the Fond du Lac Symphonic Band and co-hosted by the Fondy High Bands, Holy Family Congregation, Fond du Lac Music Parents and the Fond du Lac Children’s Chorale, the guests are being housed in private homes during their 3-night visit. Their 2-week tour will also include visits to Milwaukee, Chicago, and two communities in lower Michigan.
The concert is free. Food and beverages will be sold at the concession stand prior to and throughout the entire performance, hosted by the Band Parents group The concert will be moved to the High School PAC in the event of bad weather.
Funding for the Buttermilk Festival is provided by major festival sponsors and co-sponsors, the Friends of the Festival, and a free-will offering that will be taken during the evening.
Next on the summer music schedule is the Symphonic Band playing music of The Musical Stage (Broadway, opera, movies and more) on July 26, followed by the Water City Jazz Orchestra on Aug. 2.