IBA and IJEA All-district honor band members. Not pictured: Richard Minor, Victor Sirugo.

LPHS band students perform in honor bands


The past two weekends LPHS band students participated in the IJEA and IBA all-district bands at Benton Central High School and Kankakee Valley High School, respectively.

“[Honor bands] give students a chance to rehearse and perform music with others who are likewise more focused on making music at a higher level,” Mickey Stisher, band director, said.

The Indiana Jazz Educators Association seeks to provide leadership related to curricular resources, performance, and pedagogy for jazz educators throughout the state. The IJEA has hosted the northern honor band site at Benton Central High School since its creation two years ago. The program had produced successful, talented bands each year under their respective guest conductors, including this year’s Steve Snyder of Depauw.

La Porte students who participated at the Benton Central High School site include seniors Zeke Chairez, Cedric McCoy, Richard Minor, Tyler Benn, and Alec Miller; junior Hailey Joseph; sophomore Victor Sirugo.

“I took a new sense of cooperation from All-District Jazz Band. You had to work with other people who you had never met before. It took you working along with everyone else to make the music sound great. It created a new sense of importance from each individual. If an opportunity like this ever presents itself to me again,  I would do it,” Minor, trumpeter, said.

Students rehearsed on Saturday from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and then held a concert on Sunday at 4 p.m.


The Indiana Bandmasters Association (IBA) has hosted honor bands since the early ‘60s, beginning with the inception of the all-state band. Beginning in the ‘80s, IBA started to host two all-state bands, alongside the first few all-region bands (for middle school musicians). In the late ‘90s, IBA established the first all-district bands.

Presently, along with the continuation of two all-state bands and multiple all-region bands later in the year, IBA offered 10 all-district sites for high school musicians. Kankakee Valley High School, the Northwest site, had almost 90 musicians perform under the direction of Dr. Nikk Pilato of Indiana State University.

“Many [La Porte students] have been accepted over the past 30 years to all of the above groups. In recent years we have continued to place our band members in the groups,” Stisher said.

La Porte students who participated at the Kankakee Valley High School site include seniors Joseph Didion, Zeke Chairez, Cedric McCoy, Kat Yeaney, Andrew Walma, Alec Miller, and Tyler Benn; junior Hailey Joseph; sophomore Eva Groth.

“This was definitely something that has made me a better musician. Playing with unfamiliar people forced me to listen around a little more to get a feel for the band,” Benn, euphoniumist, said.

Students again rehearsed on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then held a concert on Sunday at 4 p.m. In addition to full ensemble rehearsal, students also had the opportunity to work in small groups with local educators proficient on their respective instruments.

“Something I took away from being in the band is that hard work really does pay off. Not only was it fun playing with different people, but the fact that it was people I’ve never played with before made me have to adjust my sound and tone and style for every song to make sure it fit with not only my section but everyone in the band. It was stressful, but after the concert Sunday afternoon I realized it was all worth it,” Chairez, saxophonist, said.

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