Band Festival Launched

By: Todd Martin
The Killeen school district hosted its first Festival of Bands that featured 16 performing groups representing the district’s high schools and middle schools, a community band and a guest conductor.

The event, according to district fine arts administrators gave student performers a chance to show their skills in a public venue outside competition.

During three evening concerts last week, wind ensembles from Ellison, Harker Heights, Shoemaker and Killeen high schools took turns playing a variety of pieces on the Ellison High School auditorium stage.

Each group played part of its program under the direction of guest conductor Loras John Schissel, conductor for the Virginia Grand Military Band.

The festival also served to showcase the KISD Middle School Honor Band and the KISD High School Honor Band. The Heights Concert Band also performed.

The honor bands represented 15 schools. The specially selected groups rehearsed together several weeks to prepare for the festival.

Schissel is well known in the band world and has traveled around the globe conducting orchestras, bands and choral ensembles.

He is a senior musicologist at the U.S. Library of Congress.