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Students fill Iowa Intercollegiate honor band

Sixteen students have been selected to represent Wartburg at the Iowa Intercollegiate Honor Band. Andy Heckroth was selected to play alto saxophone this year for the first time. —Trevor Oates/TRUMPET
Sixteen students have been selected to represent Wartburg at the Iowa Intercollegiate Honor Band. Andy Heckroth was selected to play alto saxophone this year for the first time. —Trevor Oates/TRUMPET

The Iowa Intercollegiate Honor Band has selected 16 students to represent Wartburg at this year’s honor band.
Joe Amsberry, who participated in the honor band last year, said he is excited about multiple aspects of participating again this year.
“I’m excited to get another opportunity to maybe see some people that I met at the honor band last year,” Amsberry said.
This honor band is put on by college band directors from across Iowa.
Dr. Craig Hancock, director of the Wind Ensemble, said the students spend a large chunk of their time at the honor band practicing for a concert that the students will put on Saturday night.
“Between midmorning on Friday and early afternoon on Saturday, they’re going to practice almost non-stop, except for some bedtime, to put on music with a group that has never played together before and never seen this conductor before,” Hancock said.
The students received their music already and are practicing to prepare for when the whole group comes together, Hancock said.
A committee of Hancock’s peers receive nominations and then look at the nominations and selects the students. No audition is required to be admitted to the honor band.
“There is criteria that includes what year in school are they. Seniors have a better chance than freshmen,” Hancock said. “Music majors have a better chance than non-music majors and the other real criteria is where do these kids fit into their local college band.”
Amsberry has been playing a musical instrument since he was in third grade and will be playing the trumpet at this year’s honor band.
He started playing the trumpet at a young age because two of his uncles played the trumpet and he was given one of their old trumpets.
“Listening to old marching bands and concert bands in music class or listening to jazz or anything on the trumpet always had that really exposed part where you could always hear the trumpet, and I thought those really high notes were really powerful and I wanted to be a part of that,” Amsberry said.
Andy Heckroth was selected to participate in the honor band this year for the first time and was very excited when he heard the news.
“I saw this as a big opportunity to represent Wartburg because this is an honor band that is represented by all other colleges, such as Luther and even the bigger schools like the University of Iowa will be there,” Heckroth said.
Heckroth will be playing the alto saxophone in this year’s honor band concert. He has been playing the alto saxophone since he was in fifth grade.
“It just seemed like a cool instrument. When I was trying out all of the instruments, I just felt like I could play the alto saxophone better. I just felt it was the instrument for me,” Heckroth said.
Wartburg is one of 18 schools represented at this year’s honor band and will have students sitting in 16 of the 111 chairs, Hancock said.
After practicing Friday and Saturday, the honor band will put on a concert Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Nevada High School.

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