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Let the music play

By Staff | Dec 4, 2019

Lee County’s most talented student musicians will come together and perform as part of the All-County Middle & High School Band.

The All-County Band Concert is set for Friday, Dec. 6, at Ida Baker High School, at 7 p.m.

Students were required to take part in a blind audition for county music directors with the best of the best chosen to represent the county.

“It’s a real honor for the kids,” said Dr. Douglas Santini, Executive Director for the Fine and Perform-ing Arts of the School District of Lee County. “A very select few are chosen.”

All in all, nine high schools and 14 middle schools will comprise the All-County Band.

Both the middle and high school levels will play five selections of work for those in attendance.

Being selected also gives students a chance to gain valuable knowledge from a professional director other than their own.

Timothy Yontz, Director of Bands and Head of Instrumental Studies for the Bower School of Music & the Arts at Florida Gulf Coast University, will conduct the high school band. Yontz is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Education Association, National Association for Music Education, Phi Beta Mu International School Bandmaster Fraternity, and is a recipient of the National Band Association’s “Citation of Excellence.”

The guest conductor for the middle school band is Troy V. Jones, the Director of Athletic Bands/Associate Director of Bands and Instructor of Music Education and Percussion at the Bower School of Music at Florida Gulf Coast University. Jones previously served as Director of Bands at Gulf Middle School and Assistant Band Director at Mariner High School. He was named Hendry County Teacher of the Year in 1998, and in 2004 was named Lee County Middle School Band Director of the Year, Lee County Music Educator of the Year, and Teacher of the Year by the United Arts Council.

“We always have special clinicians, they’re really very good,” Santini said. “This year, it’s nice to have local conductors to work with our students.”

Santini also said students who are selected to this “all-star” group of musicians multiple times in their high school career get a chance to learn from more than one expert in their field.

Yontz and Jones will be collaborating with the bands Thursday and Friday as they prepare to perform.

Santini said he’s pleased to see arts in Lee County still capturing the minds of youth and part of school and education.

“We’ve got to keep these things in schools,” Santini said as he glowingly spoke about all Lee County has to offer in the form of arts for students. “If we don’t, they certainly will go away — we’ve got to keep a hold of it.

“There are lots going on in the arts with students in Lee County. It’s great that we have such a vibrant arts program — we need to keep it going.”

The concert is free and open to the public. No ticket purchase is necessary.

The concert will be held in the auditorium of Ida Baker High School, at 3500 Agualinda Blvd., Cape Coral.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj