Concert fosters collaboration

New OPS high schools join Burke in combined concert band performance


Rhiannon Herrmann-Armsbury

Performing together, concert band students from Burke, Buena Vista and Westview put on a performance in the Burke gym. The combined performance was meant to help the two new programs learn how to host a show.

At the combined concert on Feb. 23 the Buena Vista, Westview and Burke concert bands gathered in the gym after their original concert was postponed due to a snow day. Each performed their own pieces and performed “America the Beautiful” arranged by Chip DiStephano as one combined band at the end.   

“Honestly, trying to find an alternate time and potential location after the first one got  snowed out turned out to be the trickiest part,” Westview instrumental music director Douglas Bogatz said. 

Students from Westview performed “Nettleton” by Johnny Vinson and “Downtown Dash” by Nathan Duaghtrey. Buena Vista students performed “Andalucía” by Victor López and “Sweet Caroline” originally by Neil Diamond and Burke students performed “Mystery on Mena Mountain” by Julie Giroux and “Symphony No. 4” by Andrew Boysen Jr. At the end of the concert all 3 bands came together and performed as one.  

“I was excited to watch them,” Senior Echo Worley said. “Concerts are typically pretty  long, so I find being excited about it makes the time move a lot faster.” 

The Burke instrumental music director Kyle Brubaker reached out the Westview  director, Douglas Bogatz, and Buena Vista director, Matthew Smoot, to organize this concert in order to reach out to the band community. Brubaker wanted to use this opportunity to teach his own students empathy and the perspective of others. 

“We chose Westview and Buena Vista because they’re the new high schools so why not, let’s band together with the new schools,” Brubaker said. 

Brubaker has done similar combined concerts at his previous school and decided to implement it here as a part of his XV year plan for the instrumental music program. He also organized a combined orchestra concert with Westview and Buena Vista on Feb. 14 as a part of this plan. He wanted this concert to create collaboration among his students and other band students in the Omaha area. The Westview and Buena Vista directors also wanted their students to learn from this experience. They wanted to help grow their student’s abilities by having them watch and play with a more experienced group. 

I think the best thing my students can get from this concert is just a chance to play in a larger group alongside confident Juniors and Seniors, and getting a chance to interact with other music students in the district,” Smoot said. 

Many students saw this concert as a chance to grow in their abilities. Directors and students alike wanted to use this as a learning opportunity. Each goal may not have been the same but they all did gain something from this performance.  

“It’s always nice to know how other bands are doing and what they sound like,” freshman Salem Wedel said. Both seeing Westview’s progress as another new school, and seeing Burke perform as a full, experienced band. It is great to learn from other schools on how we can improve.” 

This concert was put on to foster collaboration in our school and help the new schools in the growth of their program. The schools banded together to put on a performance to try something new and to reach out to the Omaha band community.  

“Band is band no matter where you are,” Brubaker said.