For the second year in a row, Zach Hommel has been selected to participate in the New York State Band Director’s Association Concert Band. The trumpet player will be traveling to Syracuse on Friday for the Saturday concert.
“I was really glad to go again,” said Hommel, a Cornwall Middle School eighth grader. “It was a fun experience the first time and I was looking forward to doing it a second time.”
Last year’s concert also served as a learning experience as he took home some sage advice from the conductor and got to know some of the other students who share his interest in music.
“I learned a lot of musical technique, things that I otherwise would not have picked up,” Hommel said. “I learned from other students – certain methods to do things; how they go about practicing or preparing or playing music.”
From the conductor, Hommel learned about articulation, as well as blending in with the surrounding instruments, rather than standing out as an individual in an ensemble. From his peers, he learned how they warm up including what pieces they practice, how long they practice, and their routine in general.
Having gotten his feet wet last year, his focus will be different this year.
“I will try to be more sociable,” Hommel said. “It was a very new experience and I was a bit intimidated, but now, having already experienced it, I’ll be used to it.”
Hommel will leave Friday morning in order to make practice which begins at 11 a.m. and lasts all day until about 8 p.m. Rehearsals continue at 8 a.m. the following morning until mid-afternoon. The concert begins at 4 p.m.
Like last year, the ensemble will perform four pieces: “Rippling Watercolors” by Brian Balmages, “Into the Clouds” by Richard l. Saucedo, “El Camino Real” by Alfred Reed, “ and “Cafe 512” by Ryan George.
Hommel found “El Camino Real” to be the most difficult to learn because of the arpeggios and rhythms, but also his favorite of the quartet.
“There are articulations that can be quite fast, almost calling for a technique called ‘double tonguing’ with the trumpet. The trumpets, they have quite a fun part near the end that really brings everything together in what sounds like a very nice piece.”
On top of being a part of the Band Director’s Association Concert Band, Hommel has been the first trumpet in the All-County Band since fifth grade. This year he was selected as first chair trumpet in the Junior High All-County Orchestra, as well as first chair/lead trumpet in the Junior High All-County Jazz Band.
“Getting first chair in both the Orchestra and All-County Jazz ensemble was very reassuring,” Hommel said. “It means I have done the best I can and validates me as a great trumpet player.”