SJN School Band goes to state

St. John Neumann Catholic School's concert band performed at Tennessee Music Education Association State Concert Festival.

The two-day festival took place in George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall on Austin Peay State University campus in Clarksville April 28. Participants came from 30 middle and high school programs from across the state.

SJNCS band became eligible to participate in TMEA Concert Festival when it received a superior rating at East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association Middle Area Concert Festival at Farragut High School on March 9. Forty-seven middle and high school programs performed at the ETSBOA event.

“The superior rating is the highest rating and honor a band can receive,” Janet Harrigan, SJN director of admissions and development, said.

SJNCS Band also received a superior rating for its required sight-reading — performing a piece of music members had never seen before — in front of another judge.

Lead by Jonathan Leichman,, SJNCS music director, the band performed three songs at the state festival: "His Honor" by Henry Fillmore (arranged by Andrew Balent), “Thoughts and Dreams” by Dwight Beckham Sr. and "Pinnacle" by Rob Grice.

Leichman has been the music director for for the school and church since 2010. He teaches general music to students in kindergarten through the eighth grade, band and choir to fifth through eighth graders and he is choir director and music coordinator for music ministry at the church.

He also works collaboratively with Jay Romines and at Knoxville Catholic High program. Leichman established SJNCS Concert Band during the 2011-2012 academic year.

“Under his direction, the band program has grown from 18 to 41 students in this five-year period,” Harrigan said. “Under his leadership the SJNCS Concert Band performed at the ETSBOA middle area concert festival for the past two years, marking the first time in history that a middle school band has ever represented the Diocese of Knoxville’s Catholic school system at such a prestigious event.

SJNCS Concert Band performed for “comment only” last year but this year received a superior rating from all four judges, she said.

Leichman expressed his gratitude to Jay Romines and SJNCS administration for their support of the school band program.