Central wind ensemble performs at CASMEC


Photo By Hodda Alazani

The wind ensemble performing at Warnor’s theater, directed by Leanord Ingrande.

Hodda Alazani, Staff Writer

Nearly a year after performing at Carnegie Hall, the Central High School Wind Ensemble continues to exceed expectations by being chosen to perform at the California All-State Music Education Conference.  CASMEC was held in Fresno, on February the 15th at the Warnor’s Theatre. Notable members of the community such as Congressman Jim Costa and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand sent letters of congratulations.  

Central was selected through an application process, including a blind recording which the CASMEC board listens to in order to select the most accomplished bands. Central was one of the two bands chosen to perform from the state of California. Band director Leonard Ingrande described this recent recognition as, “really humbling” and added, “I’m just really happy for the students because of the amount of work that it takes to get to the level that they are at.” 

It’s just getting better and better every year.”

— Leonard Ingrande

Wind ensemble students reported that they consider their success a result of exceptional dedication from themselves, as well as Ingrande. Multiple musicians cited the countless hours dedicated to practice after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in addition to summer rehearsals and weekend sectionals. Saxophone player Leila Holm stated, “Mr. Ingrande works so hard to help us become the best we can be, as musicians and as people, and it shows in every performance.”

Not only has Ingrande prepared students by encouraging them to rehearse as much as possible, but by involving them in the music selection process. His hard work has not gone unnoticed. At the conference, he was presented with the California Music Educator’s Byron Hoyt / Don Schmeer Band Educator Award, which he achieved through nominations from colleagues for tackling diverse, difficult selections, deeply impacting students and shaping the profession in meaningful ways. 

Euphonium player Alexandra Delgado described how amazing it felt to be told they were the “talk of the convention.” This was an experience student musicians will remember. Flute player Alan Pompa Aguayo said that being in one of California’s top high school wind ensembles, “is truly an achievement I will always be proud of.”

Ingrande sees a “very bright” future for the band who already has big plans for the next season. “It’s just getting better and better every year,” he said with a smile.