Where the Youngest Railroaders Begin
The Middle School program at Durand is vital to the organization as a whole and to creating successful bands at the High School level. It is at DMS where our students gain vital fundamental knowledge of their instrument and of musical theory. These building blocks are then built upon for the rest of their musical career at Durand. We are committed to providing our youngest students with the same quality band experience as their older fellow Railroaders.
What to know
Aspiring 5th grade musicians meet with a representative from Lansing's Marshall Music, where they are given a series of tests to determine potential options for instrument choice. Band students at the middle school level experience a similar class style to that of the high school, but with more emphasis on the basics of reading music and operating their instruments. Older middle school students (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) have marching performances as well during parades and Homecoming, giving them a primer in the type of outdoor performances required of them at the next level.
8th grade students participate in the Railroad Days Parade as part of the High School Marching Railroaders, providing a "head start" in learning the marching technique required of them for their upcoming 9th grade year.
The Middle School bands have indoor concert performances three times during the school year: December, March, and May.
The December concert is holiday-themed, the March concert is an exhibition of the pieces each band will perform at MSBOA Band Festival, and the May concert is typically a showcase concert of pieces we like and think you'll like too.
Concerts featuring the 5th and 6th grade bands typically consist of pieces that show off the students' fundamental understanding of music theory and instrumentation, whereas 7th and 8th grade concerts feature more robust, challenging pieces that represent their growing understanding of the activity.
Performances are mandatory for all students and are a large part of their grade for the class.
As a member of the Michigan State Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA), Durand is invited to perform at festivals during the school year. We send our 7th and 8th grade band classes to MSBOA Middle School Festival. These performances are judged, and consist of a three-song concert portion, and a two-song sight reading portion.
MSBOA Band Festival is a mandatory performance on the band calendar.
Middle School students are also invited to perform at MSBOA Solo and Ensemble Festival, allowing individuals or smaller performing groups the opportunity to play challenging music in front of an adjudicator.
While Solo and Ensemble is not mandatory, we highly recommend that students participate, as the experience is extremely beneficial at all ages.