BELMONT – The high school music room is filled with music stands, drums, instruments and in the middle of it all sat Lauren Fountain at her teaching desks accompanied by three of her senior students and the awards, plaques and trophy the band won in a high school competition in Orlando, Fla.
After four days of playing at Universal Studios, the Belmont High School wind instrument band won first place in the A Division.
"We beat out schools that had 1,300 kids in school," she said beaming at piccolo player Makayla Donovan, first clarinetist Zoe Zeller, and clarinetist Ashley Fenemore.
While Belmont High School has about 500 students and A Division is for smaller schools, Fountain said she wasn't sure how the divisions were created but knew for sure that they were number 1.
The band performed "Cajun Folk Songs" by composer Frank Ticheli and "A Movement for Rosa" by Mark Camphouse – a piece near to Fountain's heart written to commemorate the life of Rosa Parks.
All of the musicians said they think the choice of "Rosa" - the affectionate term they use for the piece – was one of the reasons they won.
"It's a level 6 piece and they just rocked it," said Fountain. Level 6 is the greatest difficulty a band can choose.
"Some of the judges said they just enjoyed it so much," Fountain said. "We were very well prepared."
The band enjoyed a clinic with one of the judges, the band director from the University of Central Florida along with some time at Universal Studios. He said the judge commended the band on balancing the piece in spite of the fact the band lacks low bass and are high in treble.
"There's not a lot of room for error in either piece and we were very exposed," Fountain said.
Donovan said she felt very confident when playing in Florida because she also loves "Rosa" and that, along with the rest of the band, it was meaningful.
The seniors also said the freshmen and sophomores really stepped up and performed amazingly. Fountain explained that high school bands have musicians of all talent levels and it's her job to try and find a balance.
"The growth this year has been tremendous, especially among our younger band members," said Fountain.
Forty-five students made the trip to Orlando.
Zeller and Fenemore are all attending the University of New Hampshire next year, but none of them expects to major in music, however said they had no desire to give it up either. Donovan is attending La Salle University.
When asked what their dream music job would be Donavan and Zeller said they'd both like to play in the band that backs singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran whose song "Thinking Out Loud" is one of their favorites.
Fenemore said she would most like to play the banjo with Steve Martin's band. "I'm really not the classical music type," she said.
But she does love banjo picking.
The band's final concert of the year is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Belmont High School auditorium.
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