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Students perform Star Wars music

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:55 p.m. CDT
Oregon High School Band Director Andy Eckardt directs during the 19th annual Band Extravaganza on March 14. Photo by Earleen Hinton
The 19th annual Band Extravaganza featured a tribute to Star Wars' themes on March 14. Here, C-3PO watches the bands perform as Miles Beske directs. Photo by Earleen Hinton

Not every school district's band concert includes directors battling with lightsabers or students performing under the watchful eyes of a protocol droid.

But that's what a near capacity crowd was treated to at the conclusion of the Oregon School District's 19th annual Band Extravaganza on March 14.

After playing nine "traditional" concert staples, band students grades fifth through 12, performed four themes from the mega-sci-fi movie series Star Wars, in homage to John Williams, the American composer who penned the titles' songs.

"I know you've all been really waiting for this," joked OHS band director Andy Eckardt as 186 band students began to play the themes.

A large screen, placed behind the students, rolled the concert credits mimicking the movies' openings... "during the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, Miles Beske" read some of the script.

Beske is the band director for the junior high. OHS junior Gerry Gehrke created the slideshow.

The theme continued with lines like "pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Andy Eckardt races home aboard his starship..."

Scenes from the movies were shown on the screen as the bands continured to play complete with C-3PO, a protocol droid character, nodding his head to the music.

While the bands were playing, Beske dressed as an Empire bad guy with a plastic lightsaber, snuck up on Eckardt who, in turn drew his lightsaber, and of course, a short somewhat rhythmic sword fight ensued.

The event, which also included a pasta dinner, serves as a fundraiser for the band program.

Eckardt also thanked the Oregon Rotary Club for its recent donation of several new instruments for beginning music students.

Upcoming music events include:

April 5-7: OHS musical; April 13, OHS organizational contest, Lanark; April 19, varsity band show, Madison, Wis.; May 3, Fine Arts night, Oregon Elementary School; May 9, 7th-8th grade Band/Choir Spring Concert, junior high gym; May 10, jazz dance, OHS Band Room; May 16. 5th-6th Band/Choir Spring Concert, OHS Band/Choir Room; and May 19, OHS Band/Choir Spring Concert, OHS Band/Choir Room.

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