BCHS Band plays with VATech and JMU

“My name is Jordan Marshal, and I play the trumpet. My name is John Heffler, and I also play the trumpet.”

I had the pleasure of speaking to these two Bath County High School Seniors just a week after they accompanied two major Virginia university marching bands in a performance at the Homestead.

While I’d heard before we talked, this had been one of those “best band days ever”, I asked what exactly it had been like to make music on such a large scale. John Heffler,

“We went through school normal and around twelve o’clock we all went down to our football field and got to practice with the JMU and Virginia Tech bands, so that was unbelievable. We had all of our school and some of both Elementary Schools come watch, so that was really cool for them too. We had around 900 musicians on the football field.”

Next I wondered just exactly how did it work to have nine hundred musicians, brass, woodwinds, percussion and more marching and playing with an overall synchronized effect. Jordan explained,

“Each individual band learned their music, and then we all came together. JMU band director came and he basically conducted it all for us, and told us who plays what, what we’re playing, what order we’re doing it, and it all worked out pretty easily.”

Did this experience of playing with so many students just a couple, or few years older than you make you think seriously about what you might like to do after high school?”
“I think both of us do. Those are our top two picks. “

“For where you might like to go to college?”

“Yes. Definitely. Oh yeah. Yeah.”

“Definitely. I mean being able to play with the JMU and Virginia Tech bands were unbelievable. We’ve got to play with JMU at JMU band day back in September. That was eye-opening on its own, and then having both of them here was outstanding, being able to just play and listen to what its like to be in the college bands, and all the difficult music that they do, all the hard work that they put into getting this stuff, and that was only three or four pieces out of everything that they play in college, so it was really cool.”

Knowing there’s one more special performance before Christmas, I asked the young men when, and how it might be similar to what they offered throughout fall.

“Our next concert is, I believe December 15th.”

“This one we will be wearing our marching uniforms; it’s not until the Spring that we wear our formal uniforms.”

And finally, I asked them to share any wisdom they have for beginning musicians who might be trying out different instruments.

Jordan Marshall, and then John Heffler,

“Well, I’d say for the younger ones, uh just work hard and love what you do. Practice every single day, and if you are trumpet player, always look towards Wynton Marsalis. That’s what me and Jordan reference all of our trumpet playing to is him. And he’s unbelievable; fantastic- he can do it all. “

“He’s the best of the best.”

“Yes, pretty much.” Then, these two young men shared a piece from afternoon they performed with James Madison University and Virginia Tech.

For AMR . . .



Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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