All band, all music

Story by: Ian Carson, Editor in Chief
Photos by: Jennifer McGowen, staff photographer

honor band

The Mt. Vernon High School band added another award to their long list of accomplishments. The band has earned the “All-Music Award” for their accomplishments this year. The last time the band earned this honor was in 2013, and before then the band had only won it three times.

In order to earn the award, the band must earn a gold at a state marching competition, a gold in a jazz festival, a gold at a concert band festival, and must have one ensemble and one soloist earn a gold at the state final level. The Mt. Vernon band met, and exceeded in some cases, all these requirements, with more than 30 students earning gold medals at the state solo and ensemble finalist.

Students at Mt. Vernon were obviously astounded upon hearing this news.

“It’s super cool that they are able to do that,” said Stephen Shilling, 12. “We have a talented band program here at MV.”

The Mt. Vernon band will participate in all the required events next year, making them eligible to receive the award again in 2017.

Band hits a golden chord

Story by: Carly McWilliams, staff writer
Photos by: Jennifer McGowen, staff photography

Band pic 1.jpg

The Mt. Vernon High School band traveled to Pendleton Heights High School for the ISSMA Senior High School Organizational Festival on April 22, 2016.

ISSMA, the Indiana State School Music Association, has been hosting competitions and festivals for school bands, orchestras, choirs, and ensembles since 1981.

The band performed three pieces, “High School Cadets,” “Variations on a Korean Folk Song,” and “Heaven’s Light.” Band members were also required to perform a sight reading of a piece of music they had never practiced before. Overall, they received a gold rating for both their performance and sight reading.

“I think we have worked hard as an ensemble and our hard work paid off,” said Emma Flick, 10.

There are still opportunities to see the Mt. Vernon Band perform: they will be playing at the Extravaganza concert, held on May 13th and 14th at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. The concert also features the jazz band, 8th grade band, and a steel pan ensemble.

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Band-ing together

Story by: Sydney Blankenship, staff writer
Photo by: Jennifer McGowen, staff photographer

band money

This past month, the band was shocked to hear that the Education Foundation bought a plethora of new instruments. With a new band director comes new opportunities.

The band’s success has been crescendoing since the beginning of last year. Recently being in the top ten of marching band state, they received new instruments and equipment to better the band program.

“Mt. Vernon [band] is a band on the rise,” said sophomore Andrew Roembke. “We are getting better and better, and we now have a great director to lead us to better things. We are a force to be reckoned with now.”

The band received: 2 Grenadilla Wood Piccolos, 1 English Horn, 4 Bass Clarinets, 1 Contrabass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, 1 Soprano Saxophone, 2 Baritone Saxophones, 1 Flugelhorn, 6 Silver, Double French Horns, 4 F-Attachment Trombones, 2 Valve Trombones, 6 Silver, 4-Valve Euphoniums, 2 4-Valve Tubas, 4 Silver Mellophones (Marching French Horns, ), 8 Silver Marching Baritones, 3 – Silver Contras (Marching Tubas),1 3-Octave Vibraphone w/ Vibrato Motor, 1 4.3-Octave Marimba, 1 5-Octave Marimba, 1 Full Set of Concert Toms, 1 1.5-Octave Chime Set, 1 Copper-Bottom Timpani, 1 Crash Cymbal Pair, 1 Crash Cymbal Pair, 4 Suspended Cymbals, 4 Suspended Cymbals, 4 Suspended Cymbals, 4 China Cymbals, 4 China Cymbals, 4 China Cymbal, 5 Pearl Carboncore Marching Snare Drums with Sound Projectors, 4 Pearl Carboncore Marching Tenor Drums, 5 Pearl Championship Maple Marching Bass Drums, along with a 28 foot fixed band tower.

ellingerMr. Ellinger, the band director, stated, “Contributions such as this showcase our administration’s high level of support for the performing arts in schools. These resources will exist in Mt. Vernon schools for decades to come. I am very happy they decided to boost the band program’s resources to provide greater opportunities for musical development in our students.”

Greater opportunities are indeed coming.If the music program has enough interest, they will possibly add Music Theory and Music History courses. Music students see this as a chance to grow their knowledge of music and have other students join the music department.

Sabrina Woods, a senior in band, said “One of my greatest band experiences was from an activity that I was skeptical about. Do it, love it or hate it, and learn from it.”

Congratulations to the Band of Marauders on all of their achievements.

Band wins big at ISSMA

Story by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer
Photos by: Jennifer McGowen


The Mount Vernon High School band performed at Indiana State School Music Association, or ISSMA, on February 27. More than half of the band received a gold medal for their excellent performance.

Mr. Ellinger, the band director, was extremely proud of the band and explained how proud of the band he is for their performances at solo and ensemble.

“This is the only competition of the year where students prepare the music themselves,” Mr. Ellinger said. “While I provide some, very little, class time for this, soloists and small ensembles rehearse on their own time. So many students making it to state finals and receiving gold ratings is a testament to their talent and passion for music.”

band ISSMA medalsStudents work hard to prepare and perform at Solo and Ensemble.

“Students chose their own music with my guidance and approval,” Mr. Ellinger said. “To make it to state finals, students must select from a require list of repertoire to perform. This music is essentially the same you would perform to audition at a university’s School of Music if you were to pursue a music degree.

“About half of the students earning gold ratings at state finals were freshman and sophomores,” Mr. Ellinger continued.  “Knowing that so many freshman and sophomores are earning gold ratings at state finals on music typically reserved for seniors is a great accomplishment for Mt. Vernon.”

The band will work towards future events and to improve for competitions and performances. Band is a class with extracurricular performances that happens all year long and there is no off-season.

The band has a concert band competition on April 23, and this competition involves the entire band, not just solo and ensemble groups.

Andrew Roembke takes to state

Story by: Claire Dorsch, Features Editor
Photos by: Caty McGovern, staff photographer


Mt. Vernon has an ever-growing music department and has achieved much in the past few years. Just recently a member of the MV Jazz Band, Andrew Roembke, 10, has been chosen to be a member of Indiana’s All-District Jazz Band and All-State Jazz Band. The MV Current was able to meet up with Andrew and ask him a couple questions about it.

Q) What are the All-District and All-State Jazz Band?

A) All-State Jazz Band is sort of like a “dream team.” Instrumentalists from all around the state all send in an audio recording of audition music. They then send those recordings to a selection committee that then decides who is going to be in, and who isn’t.

Q) How common is it for a sophomore to be accepted into these bands?

A) I do not know how common it is for a sophomore to make it, but I do know that only four trumpets in the whole state made it, and there were about 350 applicants. I will most likely be surrounded by all seniors, maybe a couple juniors.

Q) What is the application process?

A) The first thing you have to do is send in a written application with an audition fee. You basically just submit a form with your name, instrument, school, grade, the basic stuff for an application like this. Then you have to prepare the audition. You go online to get the PDF files from the website, print them off, and start practicing. There were 7 total excerpts that I had to play. Once you feel that you are ready for the audition, get a recording device and record you playing the excerpts. You then send that in and you wait for them to make contact with you on whether you made it or not

Q) How long have you been playing the trumpet?

A) I have been playing the trumpet since 5th grade, so about 5 and a half years. In 6th grade though, I played French horn for concert band. However, I enjoyed trumpet more, and in 7th grade I switched back to trumpet and never looked back

Q) What does this mean for your future in music? Do you plan to pursue a career in music?

A) This could actually mean a lot for my future. There will be many college recruiters at the concert for this, and them seeing a sophomore could definitely stand out. I for sure want to keep playing trumpet throughout college, but I’m not sure if I want to make a career in music.

Q) Do you know any of the other trumpet players selected to be in these bands? What grades are they in?

A) I looked at the list of accepted people in the bands and did not recognize. I did notice that they were all from some of the best schools in the state though, such as Bloomington North, Carmel, and Ben Davis.

Q) Are you nervous about being surrounded with other very talented musicians?

A) I’m not really nervous about being around other musicians. I’m more excited that I get to perform high level music that will challenge me and push me to my limit.